Synopses & Reviews
Every common expression has a history, and it's often not what one would expect. I Didn't Know That
offers a lighthearted yet enlightening look at the unusual origins of hundreds of words and sayings that pepper our language. From "ants in the pants" (a questionable old English home remedy) to the "whole nine yards" (which has nothing to do with lengths of fabric), here are the surprising and often amusing stories behind the phrases we use every day.
Karlen Evins fills in the background of these words and phrases and many more in fun, fascinating stories. If you've ever caught yourself wondering just how we came to say such curious things as "dressed to the nines" and "nincompoop," this clever little book will have you smiling and saying, "I Didn't Know That!"
"This handy reference provides history for a slew of terms and turns of phrases Americans use nearly every day. A Tennessee radio producer and on-air personality, Evins has been 'collecting words, phrases, and expressions' for decades, and even self-published a version of this book nearly 15 years ago. Here, she expands on her original, starting at 'A-1' ('More than a steak sauce...it was the highest rating that could be given a ship insured by Lloyd's of London') and ending with 'zipper' ('trademarked by B.F. Goodrich in 1925...for a new line of waterproof overshoes'). Among others, Evins covers 'peanut gallery,' which originally referred 'to the cheap seats...in the theaters of the Gay Nineties'; 'fighting fire with fire,' to try containing one prairie blaze by setting another; and 'mind your p's and q's,' dating back either to British pubs serving both pints and quarts, or to the early days of printing, when typesetters occasionally confused the two letters. In clear, brief and tidy prose, Evins provides interesting, occasionally fascinating tidbits for one English idiom after another, making this a small treasure trove for word-junkies, crossword puzzlers and other armchair linguists." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The producer and co-host of the national radio talk show "Beyond Reason" delivers a fun, fascinating, and informative collection of everyday expressions and their colorful origins. Illustrations.