Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable Hardcover – 1 Jul 1981
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Top Customer Reviews
Given the extortionate price asked for the Kindle version of this book (£132.06 would you believe), you would think they could have afforded a proofreader! Instead, they clearly scanned the book and put it for sale without further effort. Reading the free sample I discovered that this book is called "BEEWEE'S DIOTIOMEY OF PHMSES AND FABLE". The introduction lists earlier word-studies "admitted as wahiuts for after dinner": these include Ducange's SoraoflTO. The errors go on and on: kindhness, good-humour?smdi, hick the bucket, poUte refusal, objeot, AdiMamUes, all within a couple of pages. What a farce!
It should be used in conjunction with standard dictionaries and encyclopaedias since it does not try to replace the function of either, rather it is intended to fill in the gaps in our daily usage left by those more conventional references. It is a hard-cover book with a proper stitched binding and clearly intended to survive intensive use.
I was not aware of it before being given this copy for a Christmas present, but since then I have found it to be surprisingly useful to help with clarifying English usage for writing and as a sideways look at our culture for crossword puzzles. But more than this it can be quite interesting just to dip into as an occasional browse to pass a few minutes, because there is always some quirky phrase I'd not come across before that suddenly seems so obvious after reading about it in here.
My 1977 Centenary Edition copy is not particularly up-to-date for the twenty-first century, and there are later more relevant editions available, which is why it loses a star. But I would not be without it.
A good place for looking up older and some arcane words.