Harvey Wallbangers and Tam O'Shanters

By Martin Hannan

Harvey Wallbangers and Tam O'Shanters Look inside
  • Publication Date: 27 Oct 2011
  • Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd
  • Imprint: Metro Books, London
ISBN: 9781843584162
eBook (ePub/MOBI)
ISBN: 9781843588696



Did you know that Maria Ann Smith was genuinely a grandmother who died not knowing that she had given the world one of the best varieties of apple? Or that the word tawdry, meaning tacky or tasteless, has its origins in the fate of a seventh-century Saxon princess, Etheldreda, who was canonised and became St Audrey? Or that when we say Fanny Adams, meaning nothing, this expression is derived from the tragic fate of a real little girl who was murdered in a most horrible fashion? An eponym is a word derived from the name of a real, fictional or mythical character or person and is one of the most fascinating examples of how the English language gains new words. Harvey Wallbangers and Tam O'Shanters takes a colourful look at the phenomenon that is the eponym and, for the first time, gathers together the stories of the people behind the words that have passed into our everyday vocabulary.

About the author

Former student of philosophy (failed) turned journalist, sports writer and author of sports and history books, Martin Gerard Hannan is a lifelong quiz maestro with an obsession about the minutiae of the English language. He has had two plays produced on the Edinburgh Fringe, and is currently writing a third, as well as his first novel. Married with two grown-up children, he lives in Edinburgh.

Submit a Rating

Only registered users can submit ratings. Please, log in or register