By Robert Allen
"Allen's Dictionary of English words" is the main entire survey of this zone of the English language ever undertaken. taking up 6000 words, it explains their which means, explores their improvement and offers citations that diversity from the Venerable Bede to Will Self. Crisply and wittily written, this ebook is choked with memorable and striking element, even if displaying that 'salad days' comes from Antony and Cleopatra, that 'flavour of the month' originates in Forties American ice cream advertising, or perhaps that we now have been 'calling a spade a spade' because the 16th century. "Allen's Dictionary of English words" is a part of the "Penguin Reference Library" and attracts on over 70 years of expertise in bringing trustworthy, priceless and transparent details to hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide - making wisdom everybody's estate.
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Extra info for Allen's Dictionary of English Phrases
G. 17th cent. Phrases first recorded in the 20th century are allocated, when the evidence permits, to early (1900-30), mid (1931-1970), or late (1971-2000) parts of the century. The explanations are followed in many cases by examples of use arranged historically. The date of each citation is given after the title of the work cited. In the case of works published before about 1800 these dates are not always so well established, and in these cases I have tried to find a consensus. The dates given for Shakespeare’s plays follow the ones given in The New Penguin Encyclopedia (2003 edition).
There have been more scholarly books, such as the Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs (third edition, 1970), which lists proverbial language in a broader sense than is generally understood by the term proverb and gives copious citations but virtually no editorial comment. Then, most famously of all, there is Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (originally by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, first published in 1870 and in many editions since) but despite its great appeal this is more about ‘fable’ than ‘phrase’, makes only occasional attempts to explain the evolution and history of phrases, and rarely dates them.
Set similes are normally entered at the first word, so that (as) bold as brass is given at BOLD. But (as) merry/lively as a grig will be found at GRIG because neither merry nor lively is a stable element in the phrase. Cross-references are given at the ends of entries to direct readers who look in the wrong place: for example, anyone looking for rain cats and dogs at the entry foror RAIN will be redirected to the entry for CAT. In these references, the target keyword is given in small capitals, either embedded in the phrase when the form is the same or given separately when it is not: See also… rain cats and dogs at CAT; rain on somebody’s PARADE.