A Dictionary of American Proverbs / Edition 1

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Overview

Many surprises await the reader in this vast treasure trove of wit and wisdom. Collected here are popular proverbs on all aspects of American life: weather, agriculture, travel, money, business, food, neighbors, manners, and government. "Amazing. . . . Outstanding. . . . This is a mammoth work which offers a variety of resources for students of literature, history and rhetoric.--Review and Expositor.

A treasury of more than 15,000 sayings, adages, and maxims commonly used in popular speech in the U.S. and Canada. As the first major collection of proverbs in the English language based on oral sources rather than written sources, it includes thousands of uniquely American proverbs that have never before been recorded as well as many thousands of traditional sayings that have found their way into American speech from classical, biblical, British, continental European and American literature. Extensive bibliography lists both primary and secondary sources.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This scholarly work lists U.S. and Canadian proverbs alphabetically by key word, cross-referencing for related proverbs. Although it draws strictly from oral sources, noting the recorded distribution, the book also lists each proverb's first citation in writing along with its inclusion in other collections. Especially valuable are the variants: ``Absence makes the heart grow fonder'' also has ``Absence makes the heart wander'' and five other versions. Understandably, large sections are devoted to ``man,'' ``money,'' and ``woman.'' This is an excellent, well-conceived document of a fast-changing and perhaps dying segment of our language. Recommended for reference sections.--Kitty Chen Dean, Nassau Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
Booknews
Fifteen thousand proverbs and their variants (in actual use in American speech) are presented here--gleaned from the 150,000 citation slips collected during 40 years of field research in the contiguous US and parts of Canada. Unique in that it is based on oral rather than written sources and identifies geographical distribution (where the proverb was collected), this monument of paremiology (proverb scholarship) will serve as a research tool for scholars of many disciplines. It is also great fun to read, and speech writers, teachers, and general readers will find some good ones to enliven their work. What can't be said is often whistled. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Excellent."--Library Journal

"A very interesting work. Certainly, it will be of greatest use to researchers of language and folklore, but it lends itself to browsing as well."--RBB/Booklist

"Fills an especially vital need in word study....A superb dictionary."--Reference Book Review

"Exemplary and indispensable....Enjoyable and revealing."--Proverbium

"Amazing....Outstanding....This is a mammoth work which offers a variety of resources for students of literature, history, and rhetoric. It is a valuable text, carefully researched and documented."--Review and Expositor

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195053999
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/1991
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 736
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Wolfgang Mieder is Chairperson of the Department of German and Russian at the University of Vermont. The late Stewart A. Kingsbury was Professor of English at Northern Michigan University. Kelsie B. Harder is Professor of English at the State University of New York, Potsdam.

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