Why aren't bald eagles bald? Why are gnomes in fact enormous? What connects Russian bears with videos? The answers can all be found in the history of the words themselves, and in Word Routes Alexander Tulloch gives us the fascinating stories behind more than five hundred of them. Language sleuth (meaning 'one who follows a path') Tulloch traces the routes of more than five hundred English words through time and across the globe. He shows us the surprising, amusing twists, turns and encounters between words on their long journeys into modern English. For instance the Keres, Greek goddesses of destruction who haunted Homeric battlefields dressed in blood-soaked robes, would probably be a little miffed to learn that the only decay with which they are today synonymous is tooth decay, or caries. Neither a straightforward dictionary of etymology nor a linear history of language, Word Routes an entertaining alphabetical guide to the stories behind many everyday words. It is an ideal book for journalists, teachers, historians or simply anyone who is interested in the fascinating story of the English language.