Back in 2010 I had been curious about the origins of popular metaphors and adages that we all use and never think about how they got started. I started searching through the Internet, looking at books, etc., and found much conflicting information. One problem was what is known as ‘Folk etymology,’ nice little stories, often made up or passed down which “held no water.’ So I decided to do some serious study. I needed to debunk myths. Over the next year I put a collection of a few hundred together, adding a bit of humor, and published a book titled On the Origin of the Cliches and the Evolution of Idioms. This was a facetious take off on Darwin’s Origin of the Species. I was pleasantly surprised at the number that started selling. I followed it up the next year with a second volume. Then in 2013 I unpublished the second volume after introducing a huge book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions,, which grew to 740 pages with revisions over the next two years. Amazon called it a ‘hot new release,’ and it took off ‘right out of the gate.’
A second volume of that book has new been released. My cliche origin books have sold thousands of copies, both paperbacks and Kindle e-books, in seven countries around the globe. They have received high acclaim and have been used in colleges, and as reference works. They have been used to teach English as a second language.
My research goes on. I am working on a third and final volume for this series which I feel even rivals the original for originality and content. It will have around 1,400 new sayings and phrases, with many proverbs and Southern Americanisms. It is due out in 2019. Here is one I researched today:
Fixing to (or, ‘fixin’ to’)
This largely Southern American idiom means that one is in the process of planning to do something: getting ready to. Even before it was used in the South, fix, from the Latin ‘fixus’ (settled), evolved in the U.K. between the 14th and 17th centuries from meaning attaching or settling something to adjusting or arranging things. It only became primarily used for repairing something in the 18th century. But the idea remained as arranging things, or ‘setting one’s mind.’ Similar citations appear earlier, but this one from Testimony Taken by the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs: The Late Insurrectionary States, Georgia, Volume II, published in Washington, D.C., 1872, on page 648 is very clear as to context:
“I thought perhaps they were fixing to get my mare and carry her off.”
This connotation remained with the Scotch Irish and English who had immigrated to the American South, and particularly, from Appalachia to Texas, where ‘fixing to’ is still used today.
BUT don’t wait two years. Get the first two volumes on Amazon today. They are selling because they are different, and more nearly accurate.