Black Sheep and Lame Ducks: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
actually alcohol American appears applied army Barney Google battle became known began believe Bible bird Black Tuesday Bloody Sunday blow blow a raspberry Britain bunny boiler Calamity Jane called children’s club cockney rhyming slang coined derives describe drink early England English language event expression passed fact famous French word given googol Gordon Bennett Greek hence idiom includes the line Jack Robinson king knock lame duck land late later legend lives London look Lord meaning medieval Middle Ages Muff mustard nautical nickname night nineteenth century Old English Old English word once one’s origin person phrase became player popular possible recorded reference Roman rope royal sailing sailors seventeenth century shaggy dog story ship slang sliced bread someone story suggested tells term thanks traced turn usually wine World War II wrote