Did you know that ‘caribou’, a large deer ‘also known as a reindeer’ is named after a snow shoveller? Furthermore, are you aware that the First Nations’ people of Eastern Canada  named these animals because of their distinct behaviour?

There is more about this word on a double page, with a glorious poster like celebration by Nicholas Stevenson. ‘Caribou’ is one of twelve words explored by Patrick Skipworth in Literally. The words evolve from diverse languages as Hawaiian, Persian, Australian Aboriginal, or Old English. Their histories and meanings are bizarre and fascinating.

Each word, within its double page, is explained through pronunciation, origin, English meaning and original meaning. Then the writer explains its evolution further.

Literally is accessible, interesting and really engaging. Bookwagon is delighted to have discovered this superb book!



Amazing Words and Where They Come From

Patrick Skipworth, illustrated by Nicholas Stevenson

(What On Earth Books)– hardback

Patrick Skipworth investigates the origins of twelve words, Literally. While ‘companion’ may appear a slight word, can you relate it to the French word for bread? Or country? Thereafter, how might the Hawaiian originating word ‘ukulele’ have anything to do with jumping fleas? Furthermore, what does the Japanese word for an empty orchestra have to do with ‘karaoke’? After all, isn’t that form of singalong joyful and companionable?
Like What a Wonderful Word, this is a geographical, historical and literary piece of information. We realise how a word with which we may be familiar, such as ‘worm’, evolved into its modern day meaning.
Literally is structured to include each word’s correct pronunciation and origin. Its English meaning, original meaning and an explanation of the word’s evolution follow. Nicholas Stevenson celebrates each word on its double page with a magnificent illustrations of layered colours.


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Literally”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…