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 an individual actually "let the cat out of the bag" at one time limit? Has an individual truly "gone on a wild goose chase"? discover the solutions to those questions and lots of extra during this huge, immense assortment, made 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 staggering, usually fun, and consistently interesting 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 really is an unique linguistic journey.

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

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We are indebted to one of Aesop's fables for this meaning. 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.

To sweat blood To perform such arduous toil or to be in such physical agony that the sweat in which one is bathed seems to be one's blood drain­ ing away. " The expression had only a religious use until about the seventeenth century. a big shot A person of importance. This slang use is quite recent, developed within the current century, but it is a lineal descendant of "a big gun," dating from the middle of the last century, and which in 48 turn sprang from the union of "a great gun" and "a big bug" of the early nineteenth century.

Of independent formation, a street corner in London, no longer in existence, was anciently known as the Amen Corner. It was so called because, on Corpus Christi Day, the monks proceeding to St. Paul's Cathedral, singing the Pater Noster (thus giving the name "Paternoster Row" to the street they traversed) , reached the turn of the road as they sang the Amen. once in a blue moon It means extremely infrequently, so rarely as to be almost tanta­ mount to never.

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