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I Didn't Know That: From "Ants in the Pants" to "Wet Behind the Ears"--The Unusual Origins of the Things We Say Paperback – 15 May 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company (15 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416532382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416532385
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 18 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,644,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By William Holmes on 24 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
"I Didn't Know That" is a very lightweight book about the origins of words and phrases in the English language. Each entry is discussed in a breezy paragraph (two paragraphs per page). I've read enough about the topic to know that many entries are reasonably accurate, although some are just plain wrong--the origin of the phrase "the whole nine yards" is still hotly debated and essentially unresolved, but here it's treated as settled (the "nine yards" supposedly being the cubic contents of a cement truck). It's a fun read, and I enjoyed it for what it was, but take it with a grain of salt. It's a suitable book for your library in the smallest room in the house.

For more probing examinations of the origins of words and phrases, try The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language, The Horologicon, and The Story of English in 100 Words
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Dressed to the Nines 18 Feb. 2008
By Arturo - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this was a worthy companion to some of my other books on pop culture and aphorisms. It is a little short but contains a lot of well known and popular catchphrases. This book will give you plenty of "a-ha" moments. Well researched and clearly written. Buy this book. You won't be disappointed.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Interesting... 31 Dec. 2008
By C. Barnard - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this as a gift for my sister and she says it was a huge hit christmas day and passed around the whole family. She is always calling my husband to ask...'where did this saying come from', so this was a perfect for her.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fun book! 24 Oct. 2008
By D. Ferguson - Published on
Format: Paperback
"I didn't Know that" is a fun book - easy to read. It's great for keeping in those places where you occasionally have an opportunity to sit down and relax. It would make a good gift for anybody! It's interesting to see where some of our common expressions and words come from - expressions like talk turkey or letting the cat out of the bag or happy as a clam. This is fun information that can enlighten you and give you interesting tidbits to interject into everyday conversation!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Gift Idea 9 May 2007
By D. Nicole - Published on
Format: Paperback
What a great little book and a perfect conversation starter. My friends think I'm so smart because I know where all their sayings come from. I'm giving them as Mother's Day, Father's Day and Graduation presents. Love it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great gift 9 Jan. 2008
By K. Koch - Published on
Format: Paperback
What a great gift! I set it out on the living room table and what a conversation starter. I loved it so much, I gave it out as gifts during the Holidays.

What a hit!!!
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