O Thou Improper Thou Uncommon Noun Author:Willard R. Espy An etymology of words that once were names -- Many people know that sandwich comes down to us from that inveterate gambler the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, who though of putting his meal between 2 slices of bread so he could eat while playing -- that to hector someone means to browbeat him just as Hector did in ancient Greece -- that pompadour comes... more » from the court of Louis XV and the hairstyle of his dazzing mistress.
But how many people know that the word thug comes from the name of a violent Indian fraternity suppressed by the British? That berserk comes from a a wild Scandinavian chieftain -- that hooker derives from the whores of the Dutch seaport of Hook who used umbrella handles to snare hapless sailors when they came ashore.
Willard Espy presents some 1,500 such words that have their origins in the names of people and places. No reader could hope for a more amiable companion through these etymological byways that Willard Espy.« less