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The Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins (Facts on File) [Hardcover]

Robert Hendrickson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Nov 1997 Facts on File
Author Robert Hendrickson traces the sometimes bizarre, always fascinating origins and development of more than 9,000 words and phrases from A to Zzz, including slang, proverbs, animal and plant names, place-names, nicknames, historical expressions, foreign-language expressions, and phrases from literature. This greatly expanded and revised version of the critically acclaimed 1987 original contains more than 2,000 new entries. Comprehensive, authoritative, and eminently readable, The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins will delight the logophile and serve as an invaluable reference tool for all students of language and literature.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Facts On File Inc; 2nd Revised edition edition (30 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816032661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816032662
  • Product Dimensions: 28.2 x 21.8 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,648,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

"A feast for phrase detectives...that will enliven debates and illuminate issues." - William Safire "...diverse...highly readable...Highly recommended." - Choice" --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert Hendrickson is the author of more than 25 books, including The Facts On File Dictionary of American Regionalisms for Facts On File. He lives in Peconic, New York. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine reference. 14 Sep 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Whether you are a died-in-the-wool word nut, or
just a reader intrigued by a colorful expression,
this is a work of endless fascination

Over 9,000 words and phrases are covered, from A to
Zzz, of slang, proverbs, animal and plant names,
nicknames of people, places, and things, historical
and political expressions, foreign-language terms,
literary allusions, and perhaps best of all, many
references to Classical figures and usages of our
common Western heritage.

Hendrickson regards this as a work-in-progress, and
indeed, there are omissions (smarmy, paddy wagon,
all hat and no cattle), and errors. (There certainly
was a marijuana variety called Acapulco Gold, "antsy"
was in use by the early 1960's, and this reviewer
can demonstrate conclusively that armadillos can
survive nicely north of Texas.) These are quibbles,
however, and do not detract seriously from the merit
and sheer usefulness of Hendrickson's work.

Recommended for the permanent bookshelf of lovers
of the language and students of the culture.

(The numerical rating above is a default setting
within Amazon's format. This reviewer does not
employ numerical ratings.)
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book of reference and enjoyment 2 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
One of the only reference books that can be read from cover to cover for pure reading pleasure. A fine read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine reference. 14 Sep 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Whether you are a died-in-the-wool word nut, or
just a reader intrigued by a colorful expression,
this is a work of endless fascination

Over 9,000 words and phrases are covered, from A to
Zzz, of slang, proverbs, animal and plant names,
nicknames of people, places, and things, historical
and political expressions, foreign-language terms,
literary allusions, and perhaps best of all, many
references to Classical figures and usages of our
common Western heritage.

Hendrickson regards this as a work-in-progress, and
indeed, there are omissions (smarmy, paddy wagon,
all hat and no cattle), and errors. (There certainly
was a marijuana variety called Acapulco Gold, "antsy"
was in use by the early 1960's, and this reviewer
can demonstrate conclusively that armadillos can
survive nicely north of Texas.) These are quibbles,
however, and do not detract seriously from the merit
and sheer usefulness of Hendrickson's work.

Recommended for the permanent bookshelf of lovers
of the language and students of the culture.

(The numerical rating above is a default setting
within Amazon's format. This reviewer does not
employ numerical ratings.)
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book of reference and enjoyment 2 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One of the only reference books that can be read from cover to cover for pure reading pleasure. A fine read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't what I was looking for 28 Jan 2013
By Homer J. Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was trying to find an encyclopedia of interesting phrases like, "Fell by the way side." This book doesn't have most of that kind of phrases and includes unknown or rarely used stuff that did not interest me.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a good reference tool 31 Mar 2008
By Heath - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is interesting if you just want to read through and learn some interesting facts about word origins. It's not been a good resource for me for looking up meanings.

I've tried to use it as I would use a dictionary. When I hear a phrase, I often wonder what it means. Just this morning I wanted to look up "anchor to the wind". I was pretty sure I wouldn't find it. I didn't. I did learn that the "ch" in the middle of the word anchor is confusing, and that it was added in error. That's interesting to know, but not helpful for learning the meaning of a phrase I've heard used.

I can't remember previous examples that I've looked up, but my impression is that most time that I try to look something up, I can't find it. I don't know of a better book to recommend as a reference, but I do know that I've been disappointed with this book for that purpose.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Huge Book 27 Aug 2013
By Vicky R. Minneti - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This hard cover book doesn't contain many of the common phrases you think it would contain for a huge and heavy book!
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