I’m sure a lot of people wondered why, when my original volume of Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions became such an international success that I would follow it up with a second volume, much less now, a third. But I was interested in much more than making money. I was concerned with finding out the truth about how thousands of popular sayings which English speaking people use everyday came into being, and how many of them changed with the passing of the ages to what they are today. the original volume consisted of the ones that most people had long used and wondered most about–or at least, that’s the way I saw it at the time. What I found by researching and compiling that original book, combining the entries I had used in two smaller previous books and hundreds more, was that “things are not always the way they seem.” Folk etymology has offered a lot of cute stories which in many cases turned out to not be how the sayings actually began. Then a lot of my readers started asking me “what about this phrase?” or “what about that one?” So I embarked on a journey which would last over nine years. The second volume included a lot of expressions from other countries, as well as many Americanisms not in the original.
Now to ‘the heart of the matter.” What is so special about Volume III? It seems like every time I hear some idiomatic expression nowadays, it is in Volume III. Let’s take a look at a few:
Bootlegger, chew someone up and spit them out, comparing apples to oranges, chief cook and bottle washer, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, enough to make a preacher cuss, faraway look in someone’s eyes, for the birds, get off on the wrong foot, get one’s head examined, get the goods on someone, get your head on straight, good riddance of bad rubbish, go over like a lead balloon, green as a gourd (now there’s a good one! Why was a gourd chosen as being green? the answer is startling!) growing like a weed, hit the panic button, how-do-you do (would you believe 1463), into every life a little rain must fall, is there a doctor in the house?, justice delayed is justice denied (how about 1646?). looks good on paper, murder the king’s English, mutual admiration society… Well I could go on and on. What about a more modern one…”Stick a fork in me, I’m done!”
There are between 1300 and 1400 in Volume III alone, which is so interesting that I dubbed it ‘The Best for Last‘.So you see, in order to understand how we got to where we are today in the English language you need the entire set… and there is now an Index Book, linking all three volumes. There is no other work quite like this one in print. Try it, you are sure to like it! All on Amazon and other online booksellers, or at http://stclairpublications.com.