Flying by the Seat of Your Pants: Surprising Origins of Everyday Expressions

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Penguin, Jan 4, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 224 pages
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Let's "cut to the chase" and "make no bones about it"-this book will have you "pleased as punch."

Sowing your wild oats, throwing in the towel, painting the town red...Harry Oliver reveals the fascinating stories behind these and other strange turns of phrase steeped in the weird and wonderful history and traditions of everyday life. From quirky terms to street and city names and more, this book answers the questions you never thought to ask.

? What ancient empire coined the phrase "green with envy"?
? Who was the first person to "get someone's goat"?
? Which writer first penned, "I'll eat my hat!"
 

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Contents

Butter wouldnt melt in his mouth
Caesar salad
Cut the mustard
In the soup
One over the eight
Shambles
Spitting feathers
Teetotal
Keep your pants on
Sock it to them
Wellheeled
As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb
Bobby
Cop
Frogmarch
Jailbird

Through the mill
You cant teach your grandmother to suck eggs
Ax to grind
Boycott
Gringo
Happy as Larry
Mesmerize
Surname
Armed to the teeth
DDay
Ground Zero
On a wing and a prayer
Swashbuckling
Cut of someones jib
Hunkydory
Limey
Albatross around ones neck
Dog days
Gubbins
Hell for leather
Monkeys uncle
When pigs fly
Blackball
Caesarean section
Hippocratic oath
Janusfaced
Marathon
Pyrrhic victory
Ace in the hole
Aerobics
Bluechip
Do the wave
Get the ball rolling
On your tod
Play hooky
Throw in the towel
Bedlam
Belfast
Cardiff
Los Angeles
New York
Third World
Bikini
Bloomers
Catwalk
Have ones work cut out
Keep your nose clean
On the lam
Skid row
Spiv
Whistleblower
Barking mad
Bated breath
Chav
Crap
Hooker
Posh
Black market
Blue blood
Cockles of the heart
Gibberish
Hullabaloo
Nightmare
Swag
Barnstorming
Disco
Geek
Green room
Jolly hockey sticks
Nittygritty
Pleased as Punch
Doubting Thomas
Escape by the skin of your teeth
In the biblical sense
Knock on wood
Tubthumping
Chip off the old block
Cobblers
Fly off the handle
Beck and call
Best man
Brownie points
Bushed
Crackpot
Having ones guts for garters
Indian summer
Mollycoddle
Right as rain
Spend a penny
Turn over a new leaf
Yonks
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About the author (2011)

Harry Oliver is the author of "Black Cats and April Fools: Origins of Old Wives' Tales and Superstitions in Our Daily Lives" and "March Hares and Monkeys' Uncles: Origins of the Words and Phrases We Use Every Day,

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