Local Resident Wins Princeton’s Highest Undergrad Honor!

I am so blessed that one of the avid owners and readers of my Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions series, Newby Parton,  has been awarded the Moses Taylor Pryne Prize by Princeton University! Established in 1921, this honor from one of the nation’s most prestigious universities recognizes students for character, academic excellence and leadership. After graduation, Parton, who has also been given a full scholarship to obtain his Masters, plans on becoming a civil rights attorney and pursuing a Federal Judgeship. Accolades have come in from numerous prominent persons.

In addition, Newby has served as head opinion editor The Daily Princetonian, for which he won the John V. Fleming Writing Award in 2015!

Parton is the grandson of the late great Bobby Newby, highly acclaimed local coach and radio personality, and son of Denise Newby and Kevin Parton. The following works to get to the full story, but must be copied and pasted to your browser.


Status of Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions Volume III

I just received a comment from a dedicated reader and owner of my popular cliche origin books asking me if a third volume of Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches (etc) is in the works. It is time for me to notify everyone of the status of this effort. A few months ago the hard drive of my primary work computer crashed! I had done eight months research on a third volume which was on this devise and not backed up. I took it to a local shop which informed me that they were unable to retrieve the files. Later a friend in Utah volunteered to examine the drive and determine if he could do the work. Again, no luck. He did, however, provide me with information on two shops who do this type of data retrieval which is very expensive and time-consuming. One is less expensive, but takes longer to get around to each new job because of high demand. I sent the drive there, and hope that they can accomplish retrieval. Whenever this is completed, I plan on continuing work on this research as time permits.

I truly appreciate the thousands who already own my popular books, and trust that you will be awaiting the last one in this series when it becomes available!

New Book Speeding Toward Completion

As progress speeds toward completion of the second volume of Most Comprehensive Origins of Clichés, Proverbs, and Figurative Expressions, I want to emphasize the fact that everyone needs the first volume. They go together “like two peas in a pod,” a saying which has been with us in English since 1580, found in the original volume. This book has sold thousands of copies and is in several college libraries. It has been given accolades by librarians, professors, editors, authors, and others. It is available at stclairpublications.com and on Amazon sites worldwide.

Stan St Clair's photo.

Second Revision of Most Comprehensive Origins is Out and the Best Ever!

When I started collecting cliches, proverbs, and sayings of all sorts in 2010, I could not conceive what the hobby would bring to the world. My first book of them On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms was released in 2011, and each year I have added to that collection in print. My first edition of Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions was released in March, 2013. From the beginning it has been my goal to make my work the most accurate of its type in print. I have striven to burst myths about the way that what we say and why came about. In a combination of formats, literally thousands of my cliche books have been sold worldwide.

I have found endorsements of my effort from most unexpected sources: from other authors and bloggers to doctors and ministers–not just in the US, but the UK as well.

Just a couple of days ago a gentleman did a review of it that I also didn’t expect, but it was surprisingly critical. He said that he was expecting interesting anecdotes about how words came into our vocabulary and gave an example which was inaccurate about an origin of an expression in my book. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but I am not interested in cute stories which do not tell it the way it is. I am a seeker of truth and historical accuracy,

That being said, I am announcing the release now of the second revision of this work. I have once again found origins of some sayings which are frequently reported one way and actually happened another. I have polished the book and added the maximum allowable pages, enclosing some slight revisions and twenty-three brand new additions. I have also changed the cover colors, though Amazon has not yet made that change. Ordering one now to be shipped after March 1 should give you the new revision and the new colorful cover. I am posting the cover here. Go to Amazon today for your copy. And I welcome all honest reviews.


CBS Sunday morning almost got it right…

This morning CBS Sunday Morning did a segment by Mo Rocca commemorating what he called “The 175th anniversary of a word that English Professor Allan Metcalf believes is America’s most successful export.”

Well, Mo and Allen came awfully close. They touched on a lot of theories I brought out in Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions. This book contains a lot of other type expressions, including curious words and phrases with obscure origins. It just turns out that O.K. is one of them. Yes, it was never in the public eye until 1839,175 years ago, when Boston Post founder and editor, Charles Gordon Greene brought it to our attention as a shortening of Ole Korrect (All correct)…but, unlike the claim made on CBS Sunday Morning, he didn’t ‘Think it up.”  Yes, the first dictionary to include it was 1864. But… neither of these occasions was it’s original coining.

I spent three years studying etymology and phrase origins so that I could do the best job to date of revealing these findings in my book. Below I have posted “The rest of the story” including the fact that it was already in use by 1790! Eat your heart out  Allan Metcalf and Mo Rocca.


The first known printed example of this expression is from a 1790 court record in Sumner County, Tennessee. The record was discovered in 1859 by a Tennessee historian named Albigence Waldo Putnam. In the records, Andrew Jackson said that he:

“…proved a bill of sale from Hugh McGary to Gasper Mansker, for an uncalled good, which was O.K.

An early notation of our modern usage appears in 1815 on the handwritten diary of William Richardson, who had traveled from Boston to New Orleans about a month after the famous battle fought there by Jackson. In the note he stated, “We arrived ok.” Here it is used to mean ‘all well.’

It is believed that the actual derivation of the term was from a frequent misspelling of ‘all correct’ as ‘ole korrect.’

The Boston Morning Post on 23 March 1839 carried an article using the term with the insinuation that this was indeed the origin. It ended this way:

“…and his train-band, would have his ‘contribution box,’ et ceteras, o.k.—all correct—and cause the corks to fly, like sparks, upward.”

One year later, when Martin Van Buren was running for his second term as President of the U.S., the initials O.K. became a part of his campaign slogan. He was born in Kinderbrook, N.Y., and his nickname was Old Kinderbrook. His friends formed a committee for his campaign, called “The Democratic O.K. (Old Kinderbrook) Club.” The slogan took off and he won the election.

Then on 23 October 1862, when James Pyle, placed an ad in The New York Times, referring to ‘James Pyle’s O.K. Soap’ the term received even greater precedence, plunging it into everyday accepted English. Pyle’s soap recipe was later purchased by Proctor and Gamble, and the name was changed to ‘Ivory Snow.’ Pyle’s obituary in January, 1900, said that he was the first to use O.K. in an advertisement.

As a result of these varied events, O.K. came to mean what it does today. It may also be spelled ‘okay.’