A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day Paperback – Abridged, 12 Apr 1986
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Top customer reviews
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3 May 2012
Eric Partridge has a masterly knowledge of sub-standard English and this book is a major collection of catch-phrases. They are arranged in alphabetical order with no index and so the large book is all meat. Partridge does not shun the naughty or indecent expression although no-one would argue that the book is fully up-to-date. Each term has definitions and attributions (sometimes spoken, sometimes literary) and frequently a learned but amusing discussion about these. "I'll be a monkey's uncle" is, according to the author, often preceded by well-expressed astonishment and comes from Canada via USA to Australia. I suppose there is a pleasantly old-fashioned feel to the book but I love it for its knowledge and sheer fun value!
22 December 2010
I recently bought a copy of this, and I regret to say it was a complete waste of money. My only consolation is that it was bought from a charity shop, so at least the money went to a good cause. It's actually mostly a dictionary of phrases and expressions, which aren't, by any stretch of the imagination, catch phrases. The compiler seems to have had little knowledge of, or interest in, contemporary popular culture, so, among the many catch phrases which DON'T appear are, for example, "You cannot be serious!", "That's all, folks!", "Time for bed, said Zebedee." and "I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy.". Sloppy laziness is also shown by the reference to the title of the Beatles' film as 'Long Day's Night', and not 'A Hard Day's Night'. There's a good dictionary of catch phrases waiting to be researched and compiled, but this, unfortunately for my wallet, isn't it.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 6 reviews
16 October 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Good read and historical background to various catch phrases. Handy.
A page turner
18 May 2008 - Published on Amazon.com
10 people found this helpful.
Perhaps most readers don't think of a "Dictionary" as a page turner, but this volume should come w/ a warning: if you open this during some sort of serious scholarly pursuit, you WILL be distracted. As an editor, Paul Bell has picked up not merely where Eric Partridge left off, but w/ the same lively tone that Partridge is famous for. Eric Partridge must surely have been the most delightful of dinner guests, w/ stories and quotes to astonish and delight for hours. This book fills something of the same purpose. It has voice! Even if you have Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional Usage (a book you cannot put down after looking up just one thing!) this is a fine addition to any library. "Slang etc." has many of these catchphrases, but in this volume, given separately, it's easier to chase down some link or thought or phrase. As ever, Partridge's Dictionaries are scrupulous about dating their entries and citing the source. That this lists both British and American together also differentiates it from the "Dictionary of Slang." This book should be a must-have reference book for any writer, if only to remind you of the swath and vivacity of expression. And, it's a wonderful tool for procrastination.
Orsola M. Charette
4 December 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful.
If you like words this is a fun book to have
4 May 2016 - Published on Amazon.com
E. J. Alexander
General Poor Quality
23 January 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
2 people found this helpful.
This book may have the information it claims to have but it is so poorly designed and executed that it makes the book just about useless. The copy I received has print so small that it is uncomfortable to read. The quality of the paper and the printing allows for a blurred appearance in the copy. A general disappointment all round.