Red Herrings and White Elephants: The Origins of the Phrases We Use Every Day

Red Herrings and White Elephants: The Origins of the Phrases We Use Every Day

Albert Jack

Mad hatter . . . pie within the sky . . . egg in your face. We use those words each day, but what percentage people comprehend what they truly suggest or the place they got here from?

From bringing domestic the bacon to leaving no stone unturned, the English language is peppered with 1000s of universal idioms borrowed from historical traditions and civilizations through the global. In Red Herrings and White Elephants, Albert Jack has exposed the fantastic and infrequently downright strange tales at the back of a lot of our such a lot regularly occurring and kooky modes of expression:

If you occur to be a bootlegger, your occupation recollects the Wild West outlaws who bought unlawful alcohol through concealing narrow bottles of whiskey of their boots. if you are on cloud nine, you owe a nod to the yank climate Bureau's type of clouds, the 9th topping out all others at a mountainous 40,000 toes. if you happen to select the hair of the dog the morning after, you are following the recommendation of medieval English medical professionals, who steered rubbing the hair of a puppy into the wound left by way of the animal's bite.

A pleasant compendium of anecdotes on every little thing from minding your p's and q's to pulling out the entire stops, Red Herrings and White Elephants is a necessary guide for language-lovers of all ages.

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