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2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions from White Elephants to a Song & Dance Hardcover – September, 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 988 pages
  • Publisher: Galahad; First Galahad Edition edition (September 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883658453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883658451
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Oh Horsefeathers! Get the word out! This book is over 900 pages of entertaining trivia of cliches, word origins, historic events, classical literature, and even frontier humor plus MORE!
Author, Charles Earie Funk, (yes of Funk & Wagnalls fame) has included four previous bestselling titles, "A Hog On Ice", "Thereby Hangs", "A Tale", "Heavens To Betsy", and "Horsefeathers".
I always enjoy referring back to this fun book. It also makes for a good ice-breaker at a party or even a family gathering. Want to distract pinch-cheeking Auntie Rose? Let her have a gander at "2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings and Expressions".
Warning--once you start thumbing through this, you'll be speaking in cliches for days!
Superb educational fun for all ages.
-CDS-
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this book is interesting, it was not what I was expecting. I was looking for a book that was more about expressions in the form of phrases. While there are some within, the majority were just explanations of single words. Not exactly what I was looking for.

Another thing, this book is very thick, which is something that I wasn't expecting either. No big deal, but something to keep in mind for others like myself who don't have a lot of storage space for such things.

Don't get me wrong, the book is good for what it is, as long as you know what you're getting. I apparently didn't.
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Format: Hardcover
I came across this book at a local bookstore that had a selection of books for word lovers. I perused it while I drank my frappacino, and soon was convinced I had to take it home with me. It is the most intriguing book I have ever read. It is formatted like a dictionary, but for everyone who loves word origin and other trivia, you will come back to it time and again. It is an example of useless knowledge at its best. The history of the word "omelette" is absolutely fascinating, and the evolution in the pronunciation of "one" intrigues me. They still can't decide where "hobo" comes from.
I should mention one minute drawback--the man who first wrote these books (and his son continues the tradition) lived at the beginning of the twentieth century, so the book isn't as "hip" as the title would seem to indicate. If you aren't already interested in words, this won't get you going.
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Format: Hardcover
You know those books that use too many of these. . . 1888 (ci) [belg.] having to do with or related to: (types of) {relative to}. . . Kinda hard to follow with all that jargon. Simple phrases aren't in there. Index doesn't really organize the words or phrases well. It is almost written like a dictionary but not in alphabetical order. The book didn't focus on phrases as much as it did single words like "cannibal" and "catacomb" and so on.

Not what I expected (very big and bulky book). I reccomend Heavens To Betsy & Other Curious Sayings but since the republishing of it (2002) it seems it has changed. Oh well
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Format: Hardcover
2107 Curious Word Origins, Sayings, & Expressions / 0-88365-845-3

This book is fun for both reading from cover-to-cover and skimming as "bathroom material". The expressions are explained in plain, straightforward descriptions, with the author engagingly outlining the origins and usage of each unusual word or phrase.

I didn't recognize all of the phrases in this huge tome - some of them seem a little old, out-dated, or perhaps just not native to my region, like "hog on ice"! - but many of the words and phrases are so familiar that I was startled to realize that I'd never even bothered to wonder where they had come from before now. "Juggernaut" would be a good example: would you like to know where that word came from? Mr. Funk is here to save the day!

I love this book as a great resource for seeing the evolution of common words and terms. While most of this can probably be found online nowadays, you're unlikely to find them all compiled together in such an easily browsed source. I will admit that this probably isn't a cover-to-cover read, but it is useful for looking up terms and fun for browsing on a lazy afternoon.

~ Ana Mardoll
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Format: Hardcover
What a fun book! We often pull this one off the shelf when we use an expression and wonder where it comes from. It is a book that invites browsing, and is hard to close once you are into it. We've learned all sorts of great stuff from this book, and since language does not develop in a void, what we have gleaned from this book has led us to research and learning about other areas as well.
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Format: Hardcover
Great resource of odd sayings and word origins, many of which I have used all my life never knowing where they came from. I would encourage anyone with interests along these lines to get a copy and enjoy it as I have.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had read "heavens to Betsy " and "Thereby Hangs the Tale" .... both of which seemed to be easier to
read. This book does have a comprehensive index, but I thought it was awkward to get to the origins
I wanted to access.
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