The Penguin Dictionary of English Idioms (4,000+ Idioms) (Penguin Reference Books) Paperback – 29 Mar 2001
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Some sample entries:
TO BE STILL WET BEHIND THE EARS
To be naïve, inexperienced. `He will be no match for them; he is still wet behind the ears.' The phrase has its origin in children's neglect to dry themselves behind the ears.
TO GO DOWN WITH THE SHIP
To stay at one's post until the bitter end. There was a tradition that the captain should go down with his ship. When the Titanic sank (1912), both the captain and designer went down with the ship, although they were offered places in the life-boats. In modern times, the rule has been relaxed, and the captain is expected to be the last to leave the ship.
A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
Someone who looks respectable and harmless but whose behaviour is quite the opposite. `Young children have to be aware of strangers who are kind and generous but could turn out to be wolves in sheep's clothing, such as paedophiles.' Also used with reference to trees, plants, food, etc. `Golden Rain is a magnificent-looking tree but it is like a wolf in sheep's clothing - the seeds are extremely poisonous.'
From the Author
I`m sorry to say that the first print of the second edition has an enormous number of numerical mistakes in the last 50 pages of the Index. Penguin deeply regrets this mishap and I hope very much that no more of these copies are being sold. The index has in the meantime been corrected. Therefore, please be sure to buy only the second edition where it says: Reprinted with amended index 2002. This amended second edition has been highly recommended by the Good Book Guide in the October 2002 magazine as one of those great classic reference works ....See all Product description
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An Idiom is a Set of Phrases that is used colloquially as a language and as a manner of speaking. However, the true value of some Idioms maybe invalid in today's climate or lost as language, technology and time changes - like the English half penny.
The Idiom talks about not having '2' pennies to rub together', but Cockney Slang, poverty and a knowledge of the history of English coins dictates that that Idiom was born at a time when English currency still used 'half-a-penny', 'half-a-crown', two-and-a-half shillings' (the sixpence or tanner). Therefore the Idiom should read 'not having 'two half pennies' to rub together or in Cockney Slang terms not having 'tu'pence'ha'pny' to rub together.
I suspect that this has been modernised to connect with the USA's 'two cents worth', especially as the English coins no longer accommodates or recognises the monetary value of halves - (so to speak).
The Contents Page is arranged into Categories by Subject Matter at the front of the book.
There is an Index at the back of the book to help you tailor your studies to suit your personal needs.
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