400 intriguing, entertaining, and often hilarious etymological journies
The English language is riddled with phrases that are complete nonsense. Ever met “a monkey’s uncle,” seen a “red-handed” thief, or “put a sock in it” when asked? You know the real meaning of these common expressions, but do you know where, why, and how these idioms entered America’s vernacular in the first place? Hair of the Dog to Paint the Town Red uncovers and explains the amazing and bizarre origins of 400 such phrases. Breezy and fun to read, this book of word trivia is far from being just an etymological dictionary. As if he were unraveling 400 little mysteries, the author reveals the backstory of each expression and tells how they’ve gained their new meanings. For example, you will enjoy following the exploits of the Marquis of Waterford. Was it the Mad Marquis’ drunken excess and paint-brush wielding fun in the town of Melton Mowbray that inspired so many to “paint the town red” even today? This question and many others will be answered within.