Outstanding Books: Number Ten

I saved for last my best-selling book. This one is selling around the globe and shows no sign of slowing down after almost seven years. It has been used to teach English as a second language, referenced in a doctorate thesis at Vanderbilt University Graduate School, been given lavish praise by professors, authors, editors, newspaper columnists, and many others. It spawned a series of volumes and inspired my newspaper column, and got me on local cable TV.

Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative



In what may just be the most detailed, accurate and comprehensive book of its type ever published, Stanley J. St. Clair, author of On the Origin of the Clichés and Evolution of Idioms, delves deep into the history of phrases and common English expressions, exposing numerous misconceptions and incorrect previously published origins. By enlarging the page size, using smaller print, and removing the illustrations and humorous antidotes, St. Clair is able to include all of the entries in his two previous volumes and double the combined number in this remarkable work. Many of our common catchphrases are actually misquotes, often even attributed wrongly. Did you know that “Me Tarzan, you Jane” was never used in any Tarzan book or movie? Are you aware of the fact that “Elementary, my dear Watson” never appeared in any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels? Then from where did these quotes originate? Did you know that “umpteenth time” was in use almost 100 years before top printed sources claim? Did you know that “God willing and the Creeks don’t rise” originally had nothing to do with streams of water? Did you know that “How do you like them apples?” was not referring to the fruit, and that the date of its first appearance in print is often wrongly stated? Unlike most phrase dictionaries, in many cases this work not only gives the definition and most likely origin, but early citations as well. With entries as ancient as “By the skin of my teeth” to as new as “Kicking the can down the road,” this comprehensive work is sure to appeal to seekers of truth everywhere. The author welcomes your comments.

Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative E

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