From Bill Bryson’s smashing book The Mother Tongue, English and How it Got That Way, I learned the origins of the following Escapological terms:
– “Absurdity” was coined by Sir Thomas More;
– “International” was coined by Jeremy Bentham;
– “Decadent” and “Environment” were both products of Thomas Caryle;
– “Superman” was coined by George Bernard Shaw.
I also came across three words new to me:
– Buckshee (something that is free), which comes from India but was adopted by Cockneys;
– Slubberdegullion, a seventeenth-century term signifying a worthless or slovenly fellow;
– Velleity, a mild desire, a wish or urge to slight to lead to action. How familiar a notion that is to idlers!
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