Linguist Vivian Cook takes us on a brilliant series of excursions into the history and meaning of words: How do we learn words as a child? How are words born, and why do they die? Why do some never get spoken, and others never written? Each chapter is charmingly illustrated—and accompanied by a rich assortment of games, lists, puzzles, and quotes. From polite words to crass words, from p-c words to Shakespeare’s words, from food and wine words to jazz and drug words—the book is an exciting exploration into the abundance and variety of words.