John Murray Press is publishing Word Perfect by lexicographer and etymologist Susie Dent, known for her roles on Channel 4's "Countdown" and "8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown".
Georgina Laycock at John Murray Press acquired world rights to the book–a linguistic almanac offering a word or phrase linked to every day of the year–from Rosemary Scoular at United Agents and it will publish on 1st October in hardback, ebook and audio.
Sharing both curious coinage and etymological facts, Word Perfect is pitched as "full of unforgettable and often hilarious facts and histories that will enlighten and entertain everyone".
Several examples are given in the book's synopsis. It reads: "Here you will discover that the event that popularised 'turning a blind eye' was Nelson's deliberate failure to 'see' the order to stop fighting during the Battle of Copenhagen on 2nd April 1807; that the experimental cocktail you've been making from ingredients at the back of your lockdown cupboard is a quarantini; and that 'stealing someone’s thunder' had theatrically literal beginnings. You may also, now that you have a name for it, forgive yourself the odd snaccident (the unintentional eating of an entire packet of biscuits)."
Laycock said: "This is the book Susie was born to write, a treasure-trove of wit and wisdom. From nailing the language of lockdown to finding the best collective noun for a group of politicians, the genius of Word Perfect has already improved my life, mind (and conversation) enormously. I can’t wait to get everyone reading it."
Dent recently celebrated 25 years as the resident word expert on Channel 4's "Countdown" and her podcast "Something Rhymes with Purple" recently won Best Entertainment Podcast in the 2020 British Podcast Awards.
She said: "Word Perfect has allowed me to do what I love most: to dive into the dictionary and share some of its wondrous words and stories. I discovered so many surprising links between language and history, and happily unearthed words that made me wonder how I ever lived without them – words like 'crambazzled': old dialect for 'prematurely aged from too much partying'. This book was a joy to write."