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The Oxford Dictionary of Idioms (5,000+ Idioms) [Hardcover]

Judith Siefring
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Sep 2004 019852711X 978-0198527114 2
Did you know that 'flavour of the month' originated in a marketing campaign in American ice-cream parlours in the 1940s, when a particular flavour would be specially promoted for a month at a time? And did you know that 'off the cuff' refers to the rather messy practice of writing impromptu notes on one's shirt cuff before speaking in public? The Oxford Dictionary of Idioms takes a fresh look at the idiomatic phrases and sayings that make English the rich and intriguing language that it is. This major new edition contains entries for over 5000 idioms, including 350 entirely new entries and over 500 new quotations. The entries are supported by a wealth of illustrative quotations from a wide range of sources and periods. For example: 'Rowling has not been asleep at the wheel in the three years since the last Potter novel, and I am pleased to report that she has not confused sheer length with inspiration.' - Guardian, 2003. 'I made the speech of a lifetime. I had them tearing up the seats and rolling in the aisles.' - P.G. Woodhouse, 1940. Many entries include boxed features which give more detailed background on the idiom in question. For example, did you know that 'taken aback' was adopted from nautical terminology that described a ship unable to move forward because of a strong headwind pressing its sails back against the mast? The text has been entirely redesigned so that it is both elegant and easy to use. Anyone interested in the colourful side of the English language will get hours of fun browsing from this fascinating and informative volume.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2 edition (23 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019852711X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198527114
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice work! 10 Aug 2013
By george
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very helpful to elucidate the meaning of several expressions used in every day life, not always with the meaning it is intended to convey!
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5.0 out of 5 stars would recommend it 5 Sep 2013
By souhila
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received the item on time. .the dictionary was new and exactly as described,very good resource for someone learning English.language.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but not practical 18 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is amusing to read, presumably aimed at non-native English speakers, but is not totally accurate and tends to be misleading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overview of British English Idioms, With Origins 20 Nov 2007
By mziemba3 - Published on
Drawing on the reputation of Oxford, this authoritative dictionary surveys a English idioms with a British tilt, limiting its usefulness as an American English reference but offering many phrase origins.

This idiom dictionary only lists 5,000-plus entries, a limited scope made smaller for Americans or those studying American English because of the book's emphasis on British English. The dictionary assumes a more convenient trade paperback size, but its shortness makes it less reliable as a reference.

A smaller number of entries allows more room to share notes on the origins of idioms, however. This helps enhance the reader's understanding and retention of the idioms.

The authority and brevity of this idiom dictionary make it more useful to those who already speak English and are looking for a handy reference to satisfy mild curiosity. Students of English as a second language and communications professionals looking for a more complete reference should look elsewhere.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as American Heritage 8 April 2012
By Ohioan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not qualified to analyze whether this book is helpful to people who are learning English as a second language. But I have used many different idioms dictionaries, and this one, while not bad, is weak in the number of entries and in the shortness of the explanations of meaning, although I do find the little boxed features on origins very helpful. It's hard to know whether to rate this as 4 stars or 3. Ultimately I'd give it a 3.5 star rating if that were possible.
2.0 out of 5 stars Time waster 24 Feb 2013
By Don M. Moore - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I type in an idiom, even a common one, I am given dozens of locations to check out, and usually the idiom is not to be found in any of the offers. Apparently the system is not set up to dig up entries, but if the combination of words within the idiom are to be found in one or two adjacent sentences no matter the sequence, the location will be given as one I should check out. Given 6 at a time, it takes a considerable amount of time to go through 172 possibliities, only to find that none of them is the idiom, but merely a coincidental inclusion of all the words of the idiom within two adjacent, but disrelated sentences. Only once did the idiom I was looking for turn up, and it is a Canadian idiom I have not found in most other idioms dictionaries. That's what rated the two stars instead of none!
4.0 out of 5 stars The Oxford Dictionary of Idioms 9 Feb 2009
By KPRP - Published on
I think this title is a good starter for persons learning a new language. The English language is quite complex and this paperback may help to ease this pain.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of better idiom dictionaries out there 1 Jan 2010
By Todd Hagopian - Published on
If you are trying to learn the U.S. language, idioms, and slang, then there are better options out there for you. Try any of the other major dictionaries and they will work better for you. This one is written more for British-Americans and does not really teach you what you are looking for if you are buying for the purpose of learning about the English language. I hope that is helpful.

Have Fun!

Todd Hagopian
Hagopian Institute
Author of the popular "Quote Junkie" book sereies and the brand new "Idiom Junkie" series
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