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Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day Hardcover – 1 Sep 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 2nd Impression edition (1 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140515739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140515732
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 2.7 x 18.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Albert Jack is a writer and historian. His first book Red Herrings and White Elephants explored the origins of well-known idioms and phrases and became an international best-seller in 2004. It was serialized in the Sunday Times and remained on their best-seller list for sixteen straight months. He followed this up with a series of other books including Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep, Pop Goes the Weasel and What Caesar did for my Salad.

Fascinated by discovering the truth behind the world's great stories, Albert has become an expert at explaining the unexplained, enriching millions of dinner table conversations and ending bar room quarrels the world over. He is now a veteran of hundreds of live television shows and thousands of radio programs worldwide. Albert lives somewhere between Guildford in England and Cape Town in South Africa.

OTHER BOOKS BY ALBERT JACK

RED HERRINGS AND WHITE ELEPHANTS
SHAGGY DOGS AND BLACK SHEEP
PHANTOM HITCHHIKERS
LOCH NESS MONSTERS AND OTHER MYSTERIES SOLVED
POP GOES THE WEASEL
THE OLD DOG AND DUCK
WHAT CAESAR DID FOR MY SALAD
BLACK SHEEP & LAME DUCKS
IT'S A WONDERFUL WORD
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE - PART 1
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE - PART 2
THE JAM: SOUNDS FROM THE STREET
SHED DEBT & START LIVING LIFE
THE QUEEN OF HEARTS
WANT TO BE A WRITER?
LAST MAN IN LONDON

albertjack.com albertjackchat (facebook and twitter)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Where is the last chance saloon?
Who was Gordon Bennett?
Why isn't red tape black?
Why do we have a hunch, get the cold shoulder or laugh like a drain?
Why do we say skinflint, dressed up to the nines and out of the blue - and, of course, shaggy dog stories and black sheep?

We use these phrases every day and yet have little or no idea where many of them come from. Here, Albert Jack, author of the bestselling Red Herrings and White Elephants, takes us on another rollercoaster ride through the fascinating origins of hundreds of our favourite expressions (and comes up trumps).

About the Author

Albert Jack is a writer and researcher whose passion for solving the mysteries of the English language has taken him through dusty libraries across the world in search of the facts behind the phrases we all take for granted. Normally, however, he lives in Guildford where he divides his time between fast living and slow horses, neat vodka and untidy pubs.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Gaby Morgan on 21 Sep 2005
Format: Hardcover
RED HERRINGS was my favourite book of last year and now (just as my friends were breathing a sigh of relief that I had stopped dragging every conversation round to the weird and wonderful origins of the words we use every day) here comes the sequel and it's even better. Did you know, for instance, that 'buttering someone up' comes from the ancient Hindu custom of throwing globs of clarified butter at the statues of gods; that 'nailing your colours to the mast' came from captains, thinking that they were unlikely to win a sea battle, nailing their flag to the mast so their more cowardly crew couldn't winch it down and surrender; that saying something has 'got legs' comes from wine tasting -- and there's hundreds more stories where those came from... I can't imagine anyone not loving this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. Nicholls on 31 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book very interesting althought I thought it would have contained a few more well know sayings. But then again I suppose it is a sequal to a previous book so I guess if you want the full story you need to buy both
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Only reviewed after having some time on 16 Nov 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All the most known phases, Red Herrings & White Elephants is the one to choose. However if you want more, then this book contains more but they are more obscure (less well known). Good though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janet 71 on 19 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this for my dad for xmas but had a read myself of a few pages, really intresting facts of where saying come from. I was not disappointed as Amazon put a great "look inside" profile so I knew what I was getting.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I recently found this little book languishing on the bookshelf at home, literally gathering dust, and wondered why I hadn't actually read it. So I gave it a go. Within a dozen pages, the reason that I had abandoned the book came back to me...

I ploughed my way through the first section; nautical origins and (bear in mind I am no expert) spotted half a dozen glaring errors, bordering on made up.

Take the first; "caught between the devil and the deep blue sea". Yes, the Devil is a reference to a seam in a ship’s hull. It is the longest seam between planks on a ship to make waterproof and the origin of the phrase "the devil to pay" which refers to the act of hammering new caulking (treated rope to seal the seam) into a seam to make it waterproof. The act of letting out a length of rope is called paying, and paying the devil is having to re-seal the longest and most difficult seam on the ship... not something that was relished by the sailors, hence the phrase.

You can't really tell from the author's attempt to describe its location, but it is traditionally considered to be the one between the top of the last hull plank and the start of the decking, but no you can't “fall into it” and “be trapped halfway down the side of the ship”. What rubbish. In this context it is more likely that it is a reference to the activity of sealing all the seams on the hull, hanging over the hull on a swing like seat, with the lower seams ones putting you close to the waterline and at risk of drowning, while the higher up the hull you get, the closer you get to doing the worst part of the job, the difficult devil seam. Therefore neither extreme is appealing and you are caught between.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maximus Petronius on 5 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent read for anyone who is interested in the origin of everyday phrases that adorn the English language. A fun read and very enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pauline Andrews on 26 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Got this little book on recommendation of sister.It has such a lot of funny things in it.Where expressions come from,funny little sayings,etc.Surprising where all these everyday sayings come from.Read it,its fun reading
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ian h on 1 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading "Red Herrings & White Elephants" by the same author, it was another book to explain the sources of well-known sayings.. I enjoyed it!
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