Allusions form a colourful extension to the English Language, drawing on our collective knowledge of literature, mythology, and the Bible to give us a literary shorthand for describing people, places, and events. So a miser is a Scrooge, a strong man is a Samson or a Hercules, a beautiful woman is a Venus or a modern-day Helen of Troy. We can suffer like Sisyphus, fail like Canute, or linger like the smile of the Cheshire Cat. This reference explains the meanings of the allusions in use in modern English, from Abaddon to Zorro, Tartarus to Tarzan, and Rubens to Rambo. The book is based on a reading programme that has identified the most commonly-used allusions, and quotations are included with most entries to illustrate usage, from a range of authors and sources, from Thomas Hardy to Ben Elton, Charles Dickens to "Bridget Jones's Diary".