Download 2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions from by Charles Earle Funk, Tom Funk PDF

By Charles Earle Funk, Tom Funk

ISBN-10: 0883658453

ISBN-13: 9780883658451

Why do humans "take forty winks" and never 50...or 60, or 70? Did a person actually "let the cat out of the bag" at one time limit? Has a person truly "gone on a wild goose chase"? discover the solutions to those questions and lots of extra during this huge, immense assortment, produced from 4 bestselling titles: A Hog on Ice, Thereby Hangs a story, Heavens to Betsy! and Horsefeathers and different Curious phrases. Dr. Funk, editor-in-chief of the Funk & Wagnalls typical Dictionary sequence, finds the occasionally magnificent, frequently a laugh, and continually attention-grabbing roots of greater than 2,000 vernacular phrases and expressions. From "kangaroo courtroom" to "one-horse town", from "face the song" to "hocus-pocus," it truly is an pleasing linguistic journey.

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Extra info for 2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions from White Elephants to a Song & Dance

Example text

One-horse town The "one-horse town" is American; we use the expression dis­ paragingly to designate a town of such limited resources, so sleepy and doless, that one horse might be able to do all its necessary trans­ portation. The usage first reported ( I 855) credits the expression to New Orleans, but as it was reported a few years later as far north as Boston, a place notably reluctant to accept new terms, it is more than likely that it had come into wide popular use quite a long while before it appeared in print.

A satyr, he tells us, came upon a traveler in the winter who was blowing upon his fingers. "Why do you do that? " asked the satyr. " The satyr led the man to his cave where he poured out a mess of hot pottage and laid it before his guest. Thereupon the traveler began to blow the smoking dish with all his might. "What! Is it not hot enough? " cried the satyr. " to know the ropes To be familiar with all the details. There have been differences of opinion about the origin of this saying, for it so happens that the earliest records make it appear that the phrase was first used by the gentry of the racetracks, and, be­ cause of that, some hold that by "ropes" the allusion is to the reins of a horse's harness; that one "knows the ropes" who best knows the handling of the reins.

Material for a stew, provide a livelihood. This was the only figurative meaning from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century; it gave rise to such allied sayings as "to go to pot" (to cut up and prepare for the pot; hence, in present usage, to become disintegrated), "potboiling," (doing something, usually something of no great merit, that will provide for one's immediate needs). (or on) first blush Anciently, a blush was a glimpse, a momentary view. " This sense dropped out of use during the sixteenth century, however, except in the present phrase.

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2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions from White Elephants to a Song & Dance by Charles Earle Funk, Tom Funk


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