Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

Overview


What is a ham-and-egger?
What are Anglo-Saxon attitudes?
Who or what is liable to jump the shark?
Who first tried to nail jelly to the wall?

The answers to these and many more questions are in this fascinating book. Here in one volume you can track down the stories behind the names and sayings you meet, whether in classic literature or today's news. This authoritative ...

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The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

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Overview


What is a ham-and-egger?
What are Anglo-Saxon attitudes?
Who or what is liable to jump the shark?
Who first tried to nail jelly to the wall?

The answers to these and many more questions are in this fascinating book. Here in one volume you can track down the stories behind the names and sayings you meet, whether in classic literature or today's news. This authoritative dictionary draws on Oxford's unrivalled bank of reference and language online resources to cover classical and other mythologies, history, religion, folk customs, superstitions, science and technology, philosophy, and popular culture. Extensive cross referencing makes it easy to trace specific information, while every page points to further paths to explore.

What is the fog of war?
Who first wanted to spend more time with one's family?
When was the Dreamtime?
How long since the first cry of Women and children first?
Where might you find dark matter?
Would you want the Midas touch?
Should you worry about grey goo?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The emphasis is on the allusion or reference, though origins of the phrase are also often explained.... The cross-referencing is extensive."--Reference & Research Book News


"The strength of Oxford's resource remains the etymology incorporated into the entries. Recommended."--Library Journal

"A highly useful tool."--Booklist

Library Journal
This revised and updated resource maintains the 2000 original edition's chief strengths: the coverage of a huge variety of terms and Oxford's deep etymological scholarship. Editor and historical lexicographer Knowles (publishing manager, Oxford Quotations Dictionaries) and his staff incorporate two main changes: first, new entries such as "9/11," "Sunni Triangle," and "elephant in the room," as well as entries emphasizing figurative language from literary sources, e.g., "price of admiralty," and second, a streamlined presentation through the removal of usage quotations, 50 boxed, and some biographical entries. These changes keep this A-to-Z resource in a unique place between traditional etymology dictionary and one-volume encyclopedia. The entry for "Basque," for example, adds the French background for the name. Similarly, the definition for "Camp David" identifies "David" as President Eisenhower's grandson. Most definitions are a few sentences long and include no pronunciation guide, grammatical discussion, or suggestions for further reading. Despite the title, nonliterary phrases like the nicknames for each U.S. state, many theological terms, and some scientific terms are also included. Bottom Line Oxford's broad scope reflects its competition with publishers of the well-known Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, last published in the United Kingdom in its 17th edition by Orion in 2005. The strength of Oxford's resource remains the etymology incorporated into the entries. Recommended for public and academic libraries, particularly those that did not purchase the first edition.-Marianne Orme, Des Plaines P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Booknews
Oxford offers its competition to Brewer's, one of the great, but lesser-known reference books. The Oxford boasts 20,000 cross- referenced entries covering phrase, fable, and famous figures and places. Entries are international in scope from , a Hindu ceremonial procession to , a type of Swiss Alpine melody, to , a country described by the ancient Greek explorer Pytheas. An interesting feature is an index of special lists that include the apostles of different countries, Henry VIII's queens, Jewish calendar months, plagues of Egypt, and an interesting idea, the last words of famous people, such as Oscar Wilde's: "One of us must go." Lacks pronunciation of entries. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198609810
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/1/2005
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 806
  • Sales rank: 1,326,670
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Knowles is Publishing Manager for Oxford Quotations Dictionaries and is a historical lexicographer, having previously worked on the 4th edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. She is editor of the current 6th edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

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Table of Contents

Examples of headwords are:

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