Words are the building blocks of language, but their derivations are often stories in themselves. Have you ever wondered why we wear perfume, read magazines, vote for candidates, speak in jargon? With entries from Accolade to Zoo and including such disparate items as ’blackmail’, ’fiasco’, ’influence’ and ’rigmarole’, Dictionary of Word Origins explains the origins and development of 300 commonly used words. Essays scattered throughout the book deal with more general topics such as ’A Taste of India’, ’Days of the Week’ and ’Precise Timing’ and allow the authors to expand on broader themes. The result is an indispensable guide to the richness and diversity of the English language and an endless source of fascination for anyone who delights in words.