I got some great books for Christmas. Here's one of them.
It's a mix of history and etymology that gives an overview of how the English language was created; Celtic base, sprinkle of Latin, a wedge Anglo Saxon stodge, all mixed together with some sticky French.
The best bits are the factoids. Here are some you may here in a pub near you soon.
nickname is a corruption of 'an ekename' (literally an added name)
prevaricate means to plough crookedly
The Russian for station is 'vokzal'. It was adopted after a Russian delegation visited South London in the eighteenth century and saw a sign outside a station. It read 'Vauxhall'.
cravat comes from the french for 'Croation,' after Croation mercenaries introduced the style accessory icon in the seventeenth century.
There may be more posts along these lines...
Now, I must go and straighten that plough.