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I'm a working writer and thought this book would be a handy addition to my office shelf - providing an easy reference book and a lexicon of ideas to dip in and out of.

It should - but it doesn't.

Every time I reach for it I am disappointed. Not once have I been able to find what I had hoped to in its pages, and not once has it been able to throw any inspiration my way.

In my opinion the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (which I purchased at the same time as this) stands head and shoulders above it.

The Brewer's version sits on my shelf at home and is a joy to use and read. You can never fail to be amused or learn from it when you dip in and out of its pages, while this book fails to ignite any sparks other than those of boredom and disappointment.

I have no doubt that a Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is a worthwhile investment and a wonderful thing to own - just not this one. Get the real thing:Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable Not only will you find its contents that much more thrilling, the style in which it's written is much more lively and fun too.

I think there's a reason this book cost less than a third of the Brewer's version. However, if you insist on ignoring my advice or are unfamiliar with what a Dictionary of Phrase and Fable actually is, you'll want to know what this book offers.

Dictionaries of Phrase & Fable explain the origins of familiar and unfamiliar words, turns of phrase, speech, literature and so on. They cover colloquial sayings, proverbs and touch on subjects such as history, religion, the arts, myth, legend and science. They truly are an interesting and magical read.

Yes read! I really mean it! There aren't many dictionaries you can actually sit down a read - but chances are you'll find yourself doing just that; flicking through this books pages (well, with the Brewers version at least!) jumping from one interesting entry to the next, thinking, ' Huh?! Well, I never...'

The books describe themselves as 'The quintessential guide to myth, folklore, legend and literature' and they are just that. If you have a love of language - you will have a love for these books, I'm sure... just make sure you follow my advice and go for Brewer's version and not this Wordsworth edition.

Think of it like this: You're buying a car. Do you want the Ferrari or the Lada? They're both cars, right? They do the same job, but... we'll, you get the picture. Seriously. Buy the book with the va va voom.
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on 21 October 2002
This is an excellent reference book if you are a translator.
It is a endless source of knowledge if you are curious about the origin and history of common sayings and phrases.It is unfailingly interesting and entertaining for that bored Sunday afternoon.The more you read of it the more you realize how little you knew! Every Tom, Dick and Harry (see entry p.1089) should have one!
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on 22 July 2013
I bought a copy of this book years ago, it cost me £1, one of the bet £ I ever spent.
It is full of bits & pieces I could not find elsewhere. This copy was for my daughter, she is delighted with it also.
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on 30 August 2011
I saw this book at a relative's house. She thought it might be out of print. As soon as I got home I found it on Amazon and was so amazed at the price I ordered two copies, both as gifts. They were pristine, well-packed and arrived in time.
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on 28 October 2010
It would be insulting to review this book after so many editions and years. Too good to NOT possess.
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on 8 November 2012
If you've ever wondered where a word came from this is the dictionary for you and I find myself just picking it up and opening it random. It's amazing what you will find.
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on 26 May 2016
With a price of one penny for the book, I certainly can't complain about the postage charge!
It arrived in very good condition and on time.
Thank you.
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on 10 September 2011
Book exactly what I wanted. Very informative and easy to access the information I wanted. Reasonably priced and was delivered very quickly.
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on 28 March 2013
This edition of Brewer's is up to the usual standard,full of interesting and often amazing facts,a book which is difficult to put down.
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on 1 May 2015
A wonderful fund of valuable information and many, many surprises.
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