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A brash, enlightening and wildly entertaining feminist look at gendered language and the way it shapes us.

English is scattered with perfectly innocuous words that have devolved into insults hurled at women. The word “bitch” originally meant male or female genitalia. “Hussy” was simply a housewife, and “slut” was an untidy man or woman.

Feminist linguist Amanda Montell explains why words matter and why it’s imperative that women embrace their unique relationship with language. Drawing on fascinating research, and moving between history and pop culture, Montell deconstructs language – from insults and cursing to grammar and pronunciation – to expose the ways it has been used for centuries to gaslight women. Montell’s irresistible intelligence and humour make linguistics not only approachable but downright enthralling.

Wordslut gets to the heart of our language, sheds light on the biases that shadow women in our culture and shows how to embrace language to verbally smash the patriarchy.

‘An academic’s rigour meets a columnist’s wit, Wordslut is a romp of an introduction to sociolinguistics. This book will have you seething with feminist rage at the way words have been used against women for centuries, but it also gives you the tools to take them back then next time you’re at a dinner party or a political podium. Montell leads the charge for feminist reclamation and declaration.’ —Bri Lee

‘I get so jazzed about the future of feminism knowing that Montell’s brilliance is rising up and about to explode worldwide.’ —Jill Soloway

‘Montell sets a high bar … Just the kind of sharp, relevant scholarship needed to continue to inspire the next generation of feminist thought.’ —Kirkus

‘Blends academic study with pop-culture attitude … At its heart, this work reflects a tenet of sociolinguistic study: language is not divorced from culture; it both reflects and creates beliefs about identity and power.’ —Library Journal

‘An astute and witty dissection of the relationship between feminism and linguistics.'––Emma Harvey, Good Reading