Ever wondered why we speak of aeroplanes being out on the tarmac? The word is short for tarmacadam. In the 1820s, John Loudon McAdam pioneered the tarred road surface – tarmacadam. But the roads with this surface were prone to rutting and generated dust. In 1901, Edgar Purnell Hooly invented the technique of mixing tar with aggregate and then compacting the mixture on the road with a steamroller. Hooley registered tarmacadam as a trademark.

People use to speak of roads being tarmacadammed. Using a brand name as a verb is called Anthimeria. Examples include xeroxing, hoovering and more recently googling.

Boycotting a certain product or place not buying or visiting it, or ostracising a person comes from the name of an Irish absentee landlord’s agent, Captain Charles Boycott, who tried to forcibly evict tenants because they refused to pay an increase in their rents. In 1880, the Irish leader, Charles Stewart Parnell, came up with the tactic as a non-violent protest.

Shakespeare introduced 1700 new words into the English language. He was also a serial ‘verbifyer’ – to champion and to lapse were nouns before our Will got his hands, well, quill pen, on them.