Read e-book online 2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions from 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 someone truly "gone on a wild goose chase"? discover the solutions to those questions and plenty of extra during this huge, immense assortment, made out of 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 average Dictionary sequence, finds the occasionally fabulous, usually a laugh, and consistently interesting roots of greater than 2,000 vernacular phrases and expressions. From "kangaroo court docket" to "one-horse town", from "face the track" to "hocus-pocus," it truly is an enjoyable linguistic journey.

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Sometimes such courts are set up merely for amuse­ ment, as diversions against the tedium of imprisonment, and are then nothing but travesties of legal processes. Originally, however, these irregular courts were resorted to in frontier communities, usually for the trial and condemnation of persons committing offenses against the community. The source of the name is mysterious, for it is American rather than Australian; I have not found evidence of its use in Australia at any time. But as the date of origin appears to coincide closely with the gold rush to California in 1 849, the guess may be hazarded that the name was in humorous allusion to the early purpose of such courts, to try "jumpers" who, resorting to desperate measures, seized the mining claims of others.

He would have been living yet, perhaps, but the god Apollo, who was no friend, knew that Thetis had slipped-she had held Achilles by the heel when she dipped him and had neglected to get that heel wet. Apollo whispered that secret to Paris, mortal enemy of Achilles, who deliberately aimed an arrow at this unpro­ tected heel, the one spot that was vulnerable, and thus caused the death of the hero. ") 40 to paddle one's own canoe This was probably used in nothing but its literal sense until the appearance in Harper's Monthly, in 1 854, of a song by Dr.

This common occurrence must also have been common among the ancient Greeks and Romans, for they also had sayings that agree with ours. The Greeks said, "Hysteron proteron," which meant, literally, the latter the former. The Romans said, "Currus bovem trahit prrepostere," or, literally, the plow is drawn by the oxen in reversed position, and this, as a matter of rec­ ord, is the way the saying first ap­ peared in English. 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.

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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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