The word "salary" has its roots in the word "salt". So, incidentally, do "saucer" and "sausage". "Offices" today are where we work. In the Middle Ages an office was part of the sacred liturgy. "Gay" meant only "lighthearted" until comparatively recently. Now it is more commonly used to mean "homosexual".;This book may be seen as a kind of commentary on the "Oxford English Dictionary". Quarrying the OED for its evidence, it traces the extraordinary way in which English words have changed their meaning over past centuries. These shifts in meaning both chart and reflect England's historical development. In our vocabulary is the "archaeological" evidence of such great historical transformations as the Norman conquest, the growth of capitalism, the invention of printing and the coming of the Reformation.;Words today are shifting their meanings at a remarkable and unprecedented rate. Geoffrey Hughes looks closely at the impact of journalism and advertising and shows how politics, science and academia are all leaving their mark on the ever-changing meaning of words.;This work should be of interest to general readers as well as students and specialists in the history of English.