Customer Reviews for

Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas: Popular Expressions-What They Mean and How We Got Them

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted January 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    9 out of 10 stars

    What an absolute delight! You don't know how ecstatic I was to be able to review Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson. I love word reference books like these -- read them on a train, a bus, whatever, and be able to enjoy it all the way through! The alphabetical listing was so facile; I could look up my favorite euphemisms and scan through the book to catch interesting words, and since there were no chapters like most reference books, I could be satisfied with reading about just one phrase, and move on to the next. Maybe it's because of my love for the English language, or maybe it's just because I'm such a curious person, but it was so fascinating to learn about common, everyday phrases I normally say without a second thought. Each article would list the definition of the expression, it's origin, and sometimes even a direct quotation from the said source. In honor of the book, I'll give you excerpts on the two title expressions, as well as my all-time favorite :)
    Spill the Beans
    The expression beans "to let on," to tell all -- perhaps prematurely, to an eager audience, to give away a secret, or "to let the cat out of the bag" (which is evidently, a whole nother story).
    There are various explanations for the derivation, one of the most colorful being that it may have originated at the turn of the twentieth century as a euphemism for vomiting, because beans represent basic food.
    Another possibility is that the phrase comes from the ancient Greek voting practices, where black and white beans were used to represent agreement and disagreement with the issue being voted on. Each voter put one bean into a pot or helmet and the result was revealed by spilling the beans.
    The Cat's Pajamas
    This colloquialism first surfaced in the 1920s to describe something or someone superlatively good or top-notch and has retained its meaning for almost a hundred years.
    Alternative sources suggest that the phrase may come from an early nineteenth-century English tailor E. B. Katz, who apparently made the finest silk pajamas, though there is little evidence to prove this is true.
    Cute as a Button
    To be charming, pretty, or attractive in a dainty way, almost always with the connotation of being small.
    This often used simile sounds odd when you think about it. After all, how is it that a button is cute? That's debatable. Some say the "button" referred to here is not the kind you find on a shirt but actually the flower bud on a bachelor's button. Others insist the phrase refers to the button quail, and adorable little gray, fluffy bird.
    Definitely one of the most entertaining reference books I've had the privilege of picking up. Totally recommend it!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1