Black Sheep and Lame Ducks: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day (Google eBook)

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Penguin, May 4, 2010 - Reference - 256 pages
2 Reviews
The fun and fascinating follow-up to the international bestseller Red Herrings and White Elephants

Why do people put their "skeletons in a closet," "have a hunch," "get the cold shoulder," "get dressed up to the nines," or "call a spade a spade?" These phrases are used every day, yet most people have little or no idea where most of them come from. In Black Sheep and Lame Ducks, Albert Jack takes readers on a journey through the curious- and often bizarre-origins of hundreds of their favorite idioms and expressions.

For example, "wearing your heart on your sleeve" comes from the Middle Ages, when a lady would "give her heart" in the form of a handkerchief pinned to the sleeve of a knight who was about to go into battle. And calling someone the "black sheep in the family" refers to a thousands- year-old belief that a black lamb in a flock was unpopular because its fleece was undyeable and therefore less valuable.

With Black Sheep and Lame Ducks, any language-lover can feel like a "Smart Aleck"-and also know exactly who that was.
  

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Review: Black Sheep and Lame Ducks: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

Not quite as interesting as I thought it would be. Read full review

Review: Black Sheep and Lame Ducks: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day

User Review  - Stacey Costas - Goodreads

I was disappointed because this volume wasn't written nearly as well as the others in the series. That being said, there were some interesting entries. Read full review

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