In a Manner of Speaking: Phrases, Expressions, and Proverbs and How We Use and Misuse Them

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What do “the whole kit and caboodle,” “the whole shebang,” “the whole megillah,” “the whole enchilada,” “the whole nine yards,” “the whole box and dice,” and “the full Monty” have in common? They’re all expressions that mean “the entire quantity,” and they’re all examples of the breadth and depth of the English-speaking world’s vocabulary.

From the multitude of words and phrases in daily use, the author of this delightful exploration into what we say and why we say it zeroes in on those expressions and sayings and their variations that are funny, quirky, just plain folksy, or playfully dressed up in rhyme or alliteration. Some may have become clichés that, as it’s said with “tongue in cheek,” should be “avoided like the plague.” Others have been distorted, deemed politically incorrect, or shrouded in mystery and must bear some explanation.

Among the topics the author delves into are expressions that shouldn’t be taken literally (“dressed to kill” and “kick the bucket”), foreign expressions that crept into English (“carte blanche,” “carpe diem,” and “que sera, sera”), phrases borrowed from print ads and TV commercials (“where there’s life, there’s Bud” and “where the rubber meets the road”), animal images (“a barrel of monkeys” and “chasing your tail”), and food and drink (“cast your bread upon the water,” “chew the fat,” “bottom’s up!”, and “drink as a lord”).

Here’s a book for everyone who delights in the mysteries of language and the perfect gift for all the “wordies” in your life.
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About the author

Colin McNairn has enjoyed a career as a professor, a practicing lawyer, an administrative law judge, and a writer, all of which has served to stimulate his interest in the deft use of language. He is the author of books on governmental immunity, freedom of information, and privacy. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Apr 28, 2015
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781632208989
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Authorship
Language Arts & Disciplines / Composition & Creative Writing
Language Arts & Disciplines / Lexicography
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / Historical & Comparative
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Content protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Adventuring in Dictionaries: New Studies in the History of Lexicography brings together seventeen papers on the making of dictionaries from the sixteenth century to the present day.

The first five treat English and French lexicography in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Heberto Fernandez and Monique Cormier discuss the outside matter of French–English bilingual dictionaries; Kusujiro Miyoshi re-assesses the influence of Robert Cawdrey; John Considine uncovers the biography of Henry Cockeram; Antonella Amatuzzi discusses Pierre Borel’s use of his predecessors; and Fredric Dolezal investigates multi-word units in the dictionary of John Wilkins and William Lloyd. Linda Mitchell’s account of dictionaries as behaviour guides in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries leads on to Giovanni Iamartino’s presentation of words associated with women in the dictionary of Samuel Johnson, and Thora Van Male’s of the ornaments in the Encyclopédie. Nineteenth-century and subsequent topics are treated by Anatoly Liberman on the growth of the English etymological dictionary; Julie Coleman on dictionaries of rhyming slang; Laura Pinnavaia on Richardson’s New Dictionary and the changing vocabulary of English; Peter Gilliver on early editorial decisions and reconsiderations in the making of the Oxford English Dictionary; Anne Dykstra on the use of Latin as the metalanguage in Joost Halbertsma’s Lexicon Frisicum; Laura Santone on the “Dictionnaire critique” serialized in Georges Bataille’s Surrealist review Documents; Sylvia Brown on the stories of missionary lexicography behind the Eskimo–English Dictionary of 1925; and Michael Adams on the legacies of the Early Modern English Dictionary project.

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