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2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions

From White Elephants to Song Dance

by Charles Earle Funk

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Book Review

2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions is an omnibus of four books previously published by Charles Earle Funk: A Hog on Ice and Other Curious Expressions (1948), Thereby Hangs a Tale (1950), Heavens to Betsy! (1955), and Horesefathers and Other Curious Words (1958). How did the expression a wild goose chase originate? Dr. Funk has taken this and over 2,000 other curious words, expressions, and sayings that we use in our daily speech and traced them back through the years to find their amusing, practical, and surprising origins. These sayings are derived from classical sources, historic events, famous literature, frontier humor, and the frailties of mankind: take 40 winks, let the cat out of the bag, bark up the wrong tree, walk the chalk, have an ax to grind, make hay while the sun shines, start from scratch, cry "uncle", ride the gravy train, keep up with the Joneses, hit below the belt, go off the deep end, get cold feet, draw the line, eat one's hat, and lock the barn door after the horse is stolen. Dictionaries cannot find space for the drama associated with the origins of colorful words and phrases in our language. This book thoroughly and entertainingly tells the stories of hundreds of these sayings and the circumstances that brought them into our everyday speech. Charles Earle Funk is editor-in-chief of the Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary Series. The book is illustrated with the drawings of Tom Funk.

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