By Charles Earle Funk, Tom Funk
Why do humans "take forty winks" and never 50...or 60, or 70? Did somebody actually "let the cat out of the bag" at one time limit? Has someone really "gone on a wild goose chase"? discover the solutions to those questions and lots of extra during this huge, immense assortment, constructed from 4 bestselling titles: A Hog on Ice, Thereby Hangs a story, Heavens to Betsy! and Horsefeathers and different Curious phrases. Dr. Funk, editor-in-chief of the Funk & Wagnalls typical Dictionary sequence, unearths the occasionally excellent, usually a laugh, and continually interesting roots of greater than 2,000 vernacular phrases and expressions. From "kangaroo court docket" to "one-horse town", from "face the tune" to "hocus-pocus," it really is an wonderful linguistic trip.
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Additional info for 2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions from White Elephants to a Song & Dance
The saying arose during the early 1 600s, some three centuries ago, and seems to have been applied to some popular card game in which a player, when at a disadvantage, might reverse the position of the board and thus shift the disadvantage to his adver sary. Or possibly the original sense of the expression was the same as we now indicate by "duplicate," as in duplicate bridge, that after a series of hands of cards had been played, the table was 44 turned and the same series of hands was replayed, each player hold ing the hand previously held by an opponent.
Chorus Wheel about and turn about and do jis' so; Ebery time I wheel about I jump Jim Crow. 59 It cannot be stated positively that "Jim Crow," as an appellation of a Negro, arose from this song or that the appellation was of earlier date. No earlier record exists, yet across the ocean, in London, a book against slavery, with the title The History of Jim Crow, came out just a few years after the song was first heard. And, not long ago, The Negro Year Book for 1 92 5 recorded the career of a Negro slave of the early nineteenth century, one Jim Crow, born in Rich mond, who, eventually freed by his master, went to London and amassed a considerable fortune.
A large fat stag was caught, and the ass was appointed to divide it. This he did with scrupulous exactitude, apportioning an equal amount, as best he could, to each of them. But this enraged the lion, who felt that his size, prowess, and dignity had been insulted. He was so infuriated that he flew at the ass and killed him. Then the fox undertook to divide the stag into proper portions; and, being crafty and not wishing to follow the fate of the ass, he nibbled off a small piece for himself and left all the rest to the lion.
2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions from White Elephants to a Song & Dance by Charles Earle Funk, Tom Funk