Buy Used
+ £1.80 delivery
Used: Good | Details
Sold by musicMagpie
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Buy with confidence from a huge UK seller, all items despatched next day directly from the UK. All items are quality guaranteed.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Word in Your Shell-Like: 6,000 Curious and Everyday Phrases Explained Hardcover – 6 Sep 2004

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
£20.00 £0.01
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; First Edition edition (6 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000715593X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007155934
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 6.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,060,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
    If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description


‘a treasury of stimulating excursions and digressions in the English Language’

Ian Mayes, The Guardian, 2nd Oct. ‘04

‘There’s a lot of fascinating material here and the larger part of the book is unexceptionable, with much interesting information.’

Michael Quinion, World Wide Words, 2nd Oct. ‘04


A complete guide to phrases in everyday life A Word in your Shell-Like will be the ideal replacement or complement to that tatty old copy of Brewer's most of us have about the house: a modern, entertaining guide to the wonderful world of phrases, familiar and unfamiliar, a landmark publication by one of the key world authorities in English language reference. It is an entirely phrase-based book, exploring well-known phrases -- catchphrases, slogans, idioms, cliches, nicknames, titles of books and films, and quotations. The articles will contain discussion of meaning, origin and usage. Sample entries include: 'but, miss -- you're beautiful without your glasses' 'I must go down to the seas again' 'small, but perfectly formed' 'sold down the river' 'abhors a vacuum' 'all dressed up and nowhere to go' 'and when did you last see your father?' 'Anglo-Saxon attitudes' 'another meal the Germans won't have' 'What did you do in the Great War, Daddy?'

'by Grand Central Station I sat down and wept' 'Burlington Bertie' Few other word reference books are likely to increase your store of knowledge with such fun: find out of whom it was said: 'he couldn't chew gum and fart at the same time', who the 'catcher in the rye' was, and what it means to be 'caught between wind and water'. in your shell?like (ear). Phrase used when asking to have a 'quiet word' with someone: '(Let me have a word) in your ear' is all it means, but it makes gentle fun of a poetic simile. Thomas Hood's Bianca's Dream (1827) has: 'Her small and shell-like ear'. The Complete Naff Guide (1983) has 'a word in your shell-like ear' among 'naff things schoolmasters say'.

See all Product description

Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

16 November 2017
Verified Purchase
9 May 2013
Verified Purchase
13 May 2012
Verified Purchase
13 April 2011
Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
|Comment|Report abuse
10 July 2009
4 people found this helpful
|Comment|Report abuse
18 December 2005
5 people found this helpful
|Comment|Report abuse

Would you like to see more reviews about this item?

Where's My Stuff?

Delivery and Returns

Need Help?