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ISBN: 1930819293

Lives up to the subtitle on cover “a humourous history of your favourite phrases”.

Full of puns and word plays, which is what makes this potentially dry subject of word origins (Etymology) into something very readable and
informative.

Good reference source, if you’re looking for word origins (look up its index). There’s a quiz even, at the last chapter (which is a clever way to convey the info).

“Economy comes from Greek word to mean management of the family”. It’s not money. It’s relationships.

Story comes from Latin historia, which is root word of history and story.

Try Oxford English Dictionary for more indepth articles for the origin of a word or phrase.

Window originates from Old Norse Vindagauga, meaning “wind’s eye”.

P62. on the cover of a novel by Gelett Burgess was an illustration of a woman. In a paragraph next to the picture, Burgess extolled the woman’s beauty and identified the woman as Belinda Blurb. Since then, a brief write-up on a book has been called a blurb.

Murphy’s Law didn’t start with “If anything can go wrong, it will”. Edward A. Murphy late 1940s said “If there’s one way to do it wrong, he’ll find it” in response to a colleague who wired a cockpit gauge wrongly. Passed from engineer to engineer it became what it is today.

P 78. How these military titles came about: Private, Corporal, Sargeant, Lieutenant (i.e. “In lieu of a captain”), Captain, Major, Colonel, General (aka “In charge of all kinds).

P 88. Musical scales Do, Re, Mi: 11th cent musician Guido of Arezzo teaching a choir used the “ascending pitch of each line’s opening Latin syllable” – “Utqueant laxis… Resonare fibris… Mira gestorum… Famuli tuorum… Solve polluti… Labii reatum… Sancte Iohannes”

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