Words that used to mean something very different
We’ll own up right at the start: the ten words below were suggested to us by the latest book we’ve been reading, Paul Anthony Jones’s The Accidental Dictionary: The Remarkable Twists and Turns of English Words. Jones’s previous books – one of which we included in our pick of the best and most interesting books about the English language – have taken a look at the curious and often surprising histories of English words, and his new book is no different. We were fortunate enough to be the recipients of an advance review copy of the book; it’s out in the UK next week. Below are ten surprising words which quite drastically altered their meanings at some point in the past, and now mean something very different from their original definitions.