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Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds: Ingenious Tales of Words and Their Origins

Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds: Ingenious Tales of Words and Their Origins Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The real story of a word or phrases origin and evolution is often much stranger—and much more humorous—than the commonly accepted one; the many entries will certainly leave you “happy as a clam.” Happy as a clam? Really, whats so happy about being a clam? The saying makes much more sense when its paired with its missing second half: “at high water.” Now a clam at high water is a safe clam, and thus a happy clam. From the bawdy to the sublime, Quinions explanations and delightful asides truly prove that the “proof is in the pudding.”

Review:

"Logophile Quinion, who writes a column about new words for the Daily Telegraph, proves his knowledge of familiar phrases in this energetic look at common English words and idioms. The first known use of the term 'cut and dried,' for example, occurred in 1710, in reference to an uninspired sermon; like herbs precut for sale in markets, the sermon lacked freshness. The notion of a 'graveyard shift' did not arise from Victorian-era workers minding cemeteries to make sure people weren't accidentally buried alive ('I love such stories, complete and utter hogwash though they are,' notes the author), but dates from the early years of the 20th century, and is merely an evocative term for the night shift. From 'Akimbo' (perhaps Old Norse in origin) to 'Zzxjoanw' (an etymological hoax rather than a real word), Quinion tours the English language, not always offering definitive answers but generally providing the next best thing: good theories." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

In polite society, should one chunder from the poop deck? When did "harlot" get a sex change? Is writing "hairbrained" harebrained? Quinion, expert on new words and host of the word origin web site for the Oxford English Dictionary, lets the cat out of the bag by answering these and other questions about some truly odd bits of language. Quinion is unique in that he is honest. He freely admits we may never know the true origin of the word "jazz," and gives logical reasons why some folklore about word origins should be reserved for midnight recitations at crossroads during wart-curing rituals.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Michael Quinion hosts and writes the World Wide Words Web site and is a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionairy.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781588342195
Editor:
Quinion, Michael
Publisher:
Smithsonian Books (DC)
Editor:
Quinion, Michael
Author:
QUINION M
Author:
Quinion, Michael
Subject:
Etymology
Subject:
English language -- Etymology.
Subject:
Linguistics - Etymology
Subject:
General Language Arts & Disciplines
Subject:
Reference-Etymology
Publication Date:
20041031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
9.2 x 6 x 1 in 1.125 lb

Related Subjects


Reference » Etymology
Reference » General
Reference » Words on Words

Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds: Ingenious Tales of Words and Their Origins
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 224 pages Smithsonian Books - English 9781588342195 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Logophile Quinion, who writes a column about new words for the Daily Telegraph, proves his knowledge of familiar phrases in this energetic look at common English words and idioms. The first known use of the term 'cut and dried,' for example, occurred in 1710, in reference to an uninspired sermon; like herbs precut for sale in markets, the sermon lacked freshness. The notion of a 'graveyard shift' did not arise from Victorian-era workers minding cemeteries to make sure people weren't accidentally buried alive ('I love such stories, complete and utter hogwash though they are,' notes the author), but dates from the early years of the 20th century, and is merely an evocative term for the night shift. From 'Akimbo' (perhaps Old Norse in origin) to 'Zzxjoanw' (an etymological hoax rather than a real word), Quinion tours the English language, not always offering definitive answers but generally providing the next best thing: good theories." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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