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This fascinating book provides a valuable history of more than 150 intriguing expressions in categories such as business, the outdoors, people and places, and games. Linguist Ostler (alumna, Univ. of Iowa; Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers: A Decade-by-Decade Guide to the Vanishing Vocabulary of the Twentieth Century) traces each expression from its first known appearance in print to its modern-day usage. Some of the expressions honor disappearing trends, e.g., pass the buck, which today means to avoid taking responsibility, derives from the buckhorn knife, once passed around a poker table to keep track of whose turn it was to deal. Many of the expressions, like this one, can be traced back to the American frontier, while others have no clear origin. A great addition to any literary reference collection and a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning how these expressions came to be in our culture; highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.