Just the Job: How Trades got their Names

SKU: BOD-1428

What did a gongfarmer do? How is a chaperone connected to a bird of prey? What is the etymology behind cloud architect? And is there a link between secretaries and secrets?

The story behind these (and many more) job titles is rarely predictable and often fascinating. In this highly original book, Alexander Tulloch examines the etymology behind a selection of trades and professions, unearthing intriguing nuggets of historical information along the way. Here you will find explanations of common surnames, such as Spencer, Hayward and Fletcher; obsolete jobs such as pardoner, cordwainer or telegraph boy; and roles for the modern era, such as wedding planner, pundit and sky marshal.

Packed with additional etymological information and literary quotations, this book will appeal not only to linguists but also to anyone interested in the quirky twists and turns of meaning which have given us the job titles with which we are familiar today.

Alexander Tulloch is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and author of It’s All Greek (Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018).

  • Hardback
  • 224 pages, 184 x 118 mm
  • 30 black & white illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781851245505
  • Publication October 2020

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