Loose Cannons, Red Herrings

Overview

A colorful compendium of everyday words and phrases and where they originated.
The English language is a treasury of splendid mysteries, among them the many words and phrases whose origins we no longer know. Often the original meaning was literal, pertaining to forgotten objects or activities?such as "aftermath," which once meant the grass that sprang up after a farmer had mowed a field. With the informal scholarship and good-humored wit that are his trademarks, Robert Claiborne...

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Overview

A colorful compendium of everyday words and phrases and where they originated.
The English language is a treasury of splendid mysteries, among them the many words and phrases whose origins we no longer know. Often the original meaning was literal, pertaining to forgotten objects or activities—such as "aftermath," which once meant the grass that sprang up after a farmer had mowed a field. With the informal scholarship and good-humored wit that are his trademarks, Robert Claiborne reveals the wonders buried in our speech, vivid images of people and customs of the past. As the reader soon discovers, they are "a sort of hidden poetry that can heighten the colors and sharpen the meanings of words and phrases that we read or write daily."

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Editorial Reviews

Willard R. Espy
As surprising and endearing a collection of metaphors as you are likely to come across.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393321869
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,018,709
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

The late Robert Claiborne was a longtime editor and writer and the author of a number of books on words and language.

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