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 an individual actually "let the cat out of the bag" at one time limit? Has somebody truly "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 regular Dictionary sequence, unearths the occasionally dazzling, frequently fun, and consistently 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 exciting linguistic trip.

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

Example text

Ugh," he said, "All time you talk turkey. " 46 in hot water Perhaps because hot water is so easily obtainable these days, we think of the figurative hot water, meaning a trouble, a scrape, or a difficulty, as being a modern expression. No, indeed! People first got into trouble thousands of years ago, though English-speaking people didn't refer to it as "hot water" until about the beginning of the sixteenth century. Possibly the allusion was to the ancient way that unwelcome guests were sometimes warded off-by heav­ ing a kettleful of boiling water, when available, upon troublesome intruders.

It is found in Dan Michel's Ayenbite of lnwyt (Remorse of Conscience) , a translation by Dan Michel of a French treatise, written by Laurentius Gallus, in 1279, into the dialect of Kent. " In the course of the next two hun­ dred years the English version became the present usage. It must be recalled, of course, as the artist has shown, that some coal mines, cut as tunnels, are so laid out that a coal cart, when 30 filled, could go by gravity out to the open, the horse or mule being needed chiefly to get the empty can back to the face of the mine.

An ancient humorist, wishing to imply that his heart sank lower with fear than another's could, wrote, in the early fifteenth century, that his heart fell down into his toe. Suc­ cessively through the centuries, and depending somewhat upon the costume of the period, the heart has metaphorically sunk to one's heel, to one's hose, to one's boots. to play $econd fiddle (or violin) In order to produce the harmony desired by the composer of an orchestral piece, someone must be willing to play the violin of lower tone, or second violin, while another plays the first violin and the leading part.

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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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