Author: Max Cryer
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Release Date: 2010-10-01
In day-to-day speech we use words and phrases without a passing thought as to why we use them or where they come from. Max Cryer changes all that by showing how fascinating the English language really is. Did you know that the former host of Today, Jane Pauley, claims to have coined the term “bad hair day,” or that a CBS engineer named Charley Douglass invented the name and use of “canned laughter” for television, or that “cold turkey” as a term for quitting something immediately was popularized by the novel and movie (starring Frank Sinatra), The Man with the Golden Arm? Here you’ll learn the origins of “credibility gap,” “my lips are sealed,” “the opera’s not over until the fat lady sings,” “supermarket,” “supermodel,” “there’s no accounting for taste,” “thick as thieves,” and hundreds more. For anyone who loves language, this new book will “take the cake.”
Many of the phrases we use everyday are so woven into our vocabulary that we never think to question their origin or meaning. How often we comfort the broken-hearted with the reassurance that there are ‘plenty more fish in the sea’, or ruin a surprise by ‘letting the cat out of the bag’. We don’t really mean our friend should consider dating a fish, nor do we keep cats in bags, but we use these phrases regardless. Did you know that telling someone to ‘get off their high horse’ comes from the 13th century? Or that ‘hair of the dog’ wasn’t originally a hangover cure, but a belief that applying a dog hair to a dog bite would cure the wound? In the times of Roman Baths, getting the ‘wrong end of the stick’ didn’t translate as a simple misunderstanding, it actually referred to a communal toilet where a stick was used to pass a cloth from person to person, unfortunately some would often receive the wrong end...
Betty Kirkpatrick has complied and exhaustive dictionary--a must for writers, crossword puzzle buffs, and anyone who is intrigued by language. Sample entries from Cliches Let the cat out of the bag is an idiom cliche meaning to reveal a secret. In origin it refers allegedly to a fairground tick by which traders sold unwary buyers a cat in a bag, assuring them it was a pig. The buyers did not realize their mistake until they let the cat out of the back, by which time it was too late. Bite the bullet is an idiom cliche meaning to steel oneself to accept something distressing. In origin it probably refers to the days before anesthesia, when soldiers wounded in battle were given a lead bullet to bite on to brace themselves against the pain of surgery. Fly off the handle is an idiom cliche meaning to lose one's temper. Originally American, the expression has its origin in an ax or hammer, the handle of which becomes loosened and flies off after it has struck a blow.
Author: Eric Partridge
Release Date: 2003-09-02
Genre: Foreign Language Study
A catch phrase is a well-known, frequently-used phrase or saying that has `caught on' or become popular over along period of time. It is often witty or philosophical and this Dictionary gathers together over 7,000 such phrases.
Author: Judy Parkinson
Release Date: 2010-10-19
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
"Make no bones about it"--here's a "grand slam" for anyone seeking the meanings of catch phrases and quotes that enrich our everyday speech. It "rounds up the usual suspects"--hundreds of expressions that keep our language flourishing--and makes them easy to find in an A-to-Z format. If "all goes according to plan," you'll soon know: The expressions "all that glitters is not gold" and "apple of the eye" have each been in use for more than 1,000 years. "To bark up the wrong tree" comes from the sport of raccoon hunting. "The big enchilada" was used to describe someone on the infamous Watergate tapes. "Flavor of the month" was a generic advertising phrase of the mid-1940s used to describe new ice cream flavors. "Baker's dozen" is 13, one more than the standard dozen, and goes back to medieval times, when Henry III called for the severe punishment of any bakers caught shortchanging customers. English bakers developed the habit of including an extra loaf of bread when asked for a dozen to ensure that they wouldn't be condemned. "Drop of a hat" alludes to the frontier practice of dropping a hat as a signal for a boxing or wrestling match to begin, usually the only formality observed. "Sleep tight" dates back to when beds were made of rope and straw. Before going to sleep at night, people would have to pull the ropes tight, as they would have loosened during the course of the previous night's sleep. With this clever book on hand, you'll never have to "throw in the towel" during a battle of wits. Make this and all of the Blackboard Books(tm) a permanent fixture on your shelf, and you'll have instant access to a breadth of knowledge. Whether you need homework help or want to win that trivia game, this series is the trusted source for fun facts.
They're called colloquialisms, idioms, of just good old fashioned, home-grown country sayings steeped in humor and home-spun common sense. These parlances might not fit the modern hoity toity rhetoric you're used to seeing in print or hearing on TV, and that's exactly why they're more refreshing than an ice cube in July. In Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit, Author Allan Zullo offers up more than 200 vernacular verses presented in themes, such as: * Admitting You're Wrong--The easiest way to eat crow is while it's still warm, 'cause the colder it gets the harder it is to swallow. * Congress--Gettin' a politician to do somethin' good for our country is like tryin' to poke a cat out from under the porch with a rope. * Ego--Some people are so full of themselves, you'd like to buy 'em for what they're worth and sell 'em for what they think they're worth. * Teenage Boys--You kinda wish they used their heads for somethin' besides hat racks. * Revenge--Two wrongs don't make a right, but they sure do make it even. * Surprises--Sometimes you get so surprised by life there ain't nothin' else to say but, 'Butter my butt and call me a biscuit.'"
Author: Douglas B. Smith
Release Date: 2013-04-24
Everyone knows that...donuts have holes...we clink glasses before saying a toast...golfers yell "fore!" before teeing off...we nod our heads yes and shake our heads no...But how many of us know why? You'll learn the answers and a whole lot more in this fun and fact-filled almanac. And all you have to do is ask WHY?!
Author: Ella Frances Sanders
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Release Date: 2014-09-16
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
An artistic collection of more than 50 drawings featuring unique, funny, and poignant foreign words that have no direct translation into English. Did you know that the Japanese language has a word to express the way sunlight filters through the leaves of trees? Or that there’s a Finnish word for the distance a reindeer can travel before needing to rest? Lost in Translation brings to life more than fifty words that don’t have direct English translations with charming illustrations of their tender, poignant, and humorous definitions. Often these words provide insight into the cultures they come from, such as the Brazilian Portuguese word for running your fingers through a lover’s hair, the Italian word for being moved to tears by a story, or the Swedish word for a third cup of coffee. In this clever and beautifully rendered exploration of the subtleties of communication, you’ll find new ways to express yourself while getting lost in the artistry of imperfect translation. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: David R. George, Josephine C. George
Release Date: 2008-10-17
The e-mail Danny and Allison read on their new computer in 1996 looks no different from the millions of others received by Web users around the world, with one glaring exception--it was sent by their dads who died during the 1970s. While residing in the afterworld at an amenity-laden paradise called Midway Manor, guitar-strumming Mickey Parks and piano-playing Lloyd Wallace monitor and manipulate the lives of their adult children on earth from the mid-'70s through the 1990s. Tampering with the facility's sophisticated computer, the dads thrust Mickey's daughter Allison and Lloyd's son Danny into a passionate but sometimes stormy relationship-a relationship steeped in Danny's heavy drinking and entangled in the often-zany world of men's adventure magazine publishing. After carefully implementing a plan to send their son and daughter a gift of knowledge that could enrich their lives forever, the dads' brief contact is cut short. They are banished to another destination in the afterworld, but not before they impart indisputable proof of life after death--and unwittingly put Danny's and Allison's earthbound lives on the line.
The whooping crane rustlers are girls. Young girls. Cowgirls, as a matter of fact, all “bursting with dimples and hormones”—and the FBI has never seen anything quite like them. Yet their rebellion at the Rubber Rose Ranch is almost overshadowed by the arrival of the legendary Sissy Hankshaw, a white-trash goddess literally born to hitchhike, and the freest female of them all. Freedom, its prizes and its prices, is a major theme of Tom Robbins’s classic tale of eccentric adventure. As his robust characters attempt to turn the tables on fate, the reader is drawn along on a tragicomic joyride across the badlands of sexuality, wild rivers of language, and the frontiers of the mind. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Julia Cresswell
Publisher: Penguin Mass Market
Release Date: 2000
This dictionary investigates the wide range of cliches throughout the history of the English language. With over 1500 sourced cliches listed, both ancient an modern, this work looks at the more informal side of the English language.