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March Hares and Monkeys' Uncles [Hardcover]

Harry Oliver
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
Price: £8.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2005
From the publishers of the Number 1 bestseller Red Herrings and White Elephants Why is a March hare mad? Why do we sometimes call ourselves a monkey's uncle? Why do cricketers who don't score anything get out for a duck? Who was Gordon Bennett? Whilst we might choose our words carefully, we rarely think about the origins behind the many phrases, place names and expressions we use everyday. Yet, behind these words lies a fascinating story, steeped in the weird and wonderful history and traditions of everyday life. From names of streets and public houses, to the names of countries, seas and oceans, this book answers the questions you've always had about the language we all use. So if it's all Greek to you and seems like hocus pocus, for Pete's sake don't be left on tenterhooks, have a gander at this idiosyncratic tome. Make no bones about it - it's the bee's knees!

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Metro Books, London; First Edition edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843581523
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843581529
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 2.5 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 525,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Writer and editor Harry Oliver's passion for language began when he discovered Roald Dahl during a rainy summer school holiday. His love affair with the English language led him to study Literature the University of London where he attained his degree. On leaving he entered the world of publishing. Author of two other books, he lives and works in London.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Comes from the Latin panis biscoctus meaning 'bread baked twice', via the Old French biscuit. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 28 Nov 2005
This book is badly named. Its subtitle is 'Origins of the words and phrases we use every day' - not strictly true. I started reading this last night and most of the time it tells you what the phrases/words mean and not the origin of them. It is quite interesting though but would be very useful if it told you the whole story
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother 13 Mar 2006
By Kate W
If you really are interested in the origin of phrases, you would do better to have a look at one of the many websites on this subject.
If you are unable to work out for yourself that the phrase "Mission Impossible" comes from the TV series of the same name, then this is the book for you.
Other phrases are not particularly well-researched and the author seems to have plumped for the obvious meanings rather than looked at the origins in any depth.
I have given the book one star for it's presentation - nice cover, but don't judge the book by it. (Can anyone tell me the origin of that phrase - it's so obvious I'm suprised it's not in Mr. Oliver's book).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Misnomer. 28 Dec 2010
It didn't bode well that a book supposedly on the language by an English graduate should have a grammatical error on the first page of the introduction! (It's NUMBER of ideas, not AMOUNT!) I got increasingly irritated as I read on, with a large number of 'origins' being simplistic interpretations of understanding rather than actual historical research. Far too much supposition and assumption and stating of the flipping obvious!It's not even very entertaining as a lot of what 'origins' there are, are tried and tested and already very well known (eg Boycott). Woolly and irritating; if you are already interested in the language, you will find it frustrating and not at all 'what it says on the tin'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! 21 Nov 2008
My first of a series of Harry Oliver books with great information on everyday expressions and brilliant illustrations. I recommended it to my whole office who swarmed to buy copies and have been great followers of every sequel since. I think it makes for a great gift for all those inquisitive minds out there but don't forget to buy a copy for yourself. You're going to love it too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars March Hares and Monkey's Uncles 17 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought these for Christmas gifts and they were well the people to whom I sent them who all said the explanations were fascinating
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