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Smithsonian, Oct 17, 2004 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 280 pages
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The real story of a word or phrase’s origin and evolution is often much stranger—and much more humorous—than the commonly accepted one; the many entries will certainly leave you “happy as a clam.” Happy as a clam? Really, what’s so happy about being a clam? The saying makes much more sense when it’s paired with its missing second half: “at high water.” Now a clam at high water is a safe clam, and thus a happy clam. From the bawdy to the sublime, Quinion’s explanations and delightful asides truly prove that the “proof is in the pudding.”

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Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds: Ingenious Tales of Words and Their Origins

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Folk etymology, namely, stories describing word origins, takes the stage as Quinion narrates and evaluates competing explanations of a word's or phrase's evolution. A contributor to the venerable OED ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Michael Quinion hosts and writes the World Wide Words Web site and is a contributor to the Oxford English Dictionairy.

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