Sunday, November 30, 2008


At the Telegraph, Henry Hitchings offers an A to Z of word surprises. A good stretch:
N is for…

Namby-pamby. Nickname of the 18th-century poet Ambrose Phillips, coined by the satirist Henry Careybecause of his sentimental verses

O is for…

Onslaught, from the Dutch aanslag - related to a word in Old High German for a shower.

P is for…

Penguin, a compound of two Welsh words, pen and gwyn, which mean ''head" and ''white" - even though penguins have black heads. It is likely that 'penguin' was at one time the name of similar, now extinct bird which had a white patch near its bill.

Q is for…

Quack can be traced to the Dutch kwaksalver, literally someone who hawked ointments.


  1. hello,
    well this has nothing to do with wht you were talking about but when, if indeed there will be, is the fallow up book for The Explosionist coming out. I literally finished it 10 mins ago

  2. I am very glad you liked it! I am writing the follow-up now, and I think the earliest it could be out would be next winter sometime, but maybe more like summer 2010 - and I am still not sure whether this one is going to be the whole rest of the story, or whether it is only the middle volume of a trilogy!

  3. well, whenever it get out i will be excited for it. I am writting a paper on your book for school and I would be delighted if you told me more about Sophie, like if you based her off of anyone you know.
    by the way i dont mean to be anonymous i just dont have a google/blogger thing