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

By Charles Earle Funk, Tom Funk

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 cut-off date? Has someone really "gone on a wild goose chase"? discover the solutions to those questions and lots of extra during this huge, immense assortment, created 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 general Dictionary sequence, finds the occasionally unbelievable, frequently fun, and continually attention-grabbing roots of greater than 2,000 vernacular phrases and expressions. From "kangaroo court docket" to "one-horse town", from "face the tune" to "hocus-pocus," it truly is an exciting linguistic journey.

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

Sample text

Is said to have told his master about a dog which went to sleep in a manger full of hay. According to the fable, the ox, for whom the manger had been filled, came up to it for his rations, whereupon the dog, roused from his slumbers, snapped at the ox and drove him away. The ox, annoyed by this behavior, accused the dog of being churlish, because, he said. " a to set the Thames on fire It is the English river that is referred to, not Connecticut's. But the saying has been used of other rivers and with the same thought­ in Ireland of the Liffey, in the United States of the Hudson, and in Germany of the Rhine.

To keep the pot boiling Even among the ancients the container often signified the thing contained; the Romans used oUa, pot, many times instead of the meat within the pot, and so did our own forbears. 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).

His con­ ductor has shown him that other debtors manage to have a pretty good time. "It strikes me, Sam," said Mr. " Skittles was a game quite similar to ninepins; so "porter and skittles" or "beer and skittles" was equivalent to a very pleasant occasion, a time of feasting and playing. , life is not an unmixed pleasure. best bib and tucker One's best clothes. The expression as a whole dates from the late eighteenth century. The bib was an article of attire similar to that worn by children then and now, but also formerly worn by girls and women, and extending from the throat to the waist.

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