My Word!

The stories behind our favourite words

Peter Sargent

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My Word!Published 1 October 2020

When was it a good thing to be a bully? Who was the clown who almost wrecked Cleopatra’s suicide scene in William Shakespeare’s play? What have singing goats got to do with tragedy? And what connects goats, hedgehogs and supermodels with the word capricious? Were Cossack cavalrymen the first to eat in a bistro, and were twittering birds the first to use jargon. Above all, what on earth can King Henry VIII and Paddington Bear have in common?

The answers to these questions can be found in My Word! Author Peter Sargent, writer of historical books on East Anglia and former journalist, has long been intrigued and frequently bamboozled by the language we use in everyday speech.

In this book he looks at nearly a hundred common words that we bandy about with abandon, rarely thinking about where they came from, and how their use has changed and is continuing to change. It’s an entertaining and informative safari through the jungle of our evolving language.

For more information about Peter Sargent see

Read about My Word! in Emma Outten’s article for Folk Features: click here  

Read about My Word! in the Spalding Voice: click here 

Five new Norfolk books for November – Norfolk Magazine – read about My Word! here

“Well, one way to cheer yourself up is to get a copy of Peter Sargent’s new book My Word!, which takes a highly entertaining and fascinating look at the history of many of our wonderful words, which are steeped in history and often lost in the mist of time.” Derek James, Eastern Daily Press

Read Derek James feature about My Word! at the Norwich Evening News online: click here

On sale at, Jarrold Norwich, Jarrold Cromer , , Waterstones Norwich, Revelation Bookshop Norwich , Bookbugs and Dragon Tales Bookshop Norwich, Amazon  and