Endangered Phrases: Intriguing Idioms Dangerously Close to Extinction

By Steven D. Price

“Person to individual” (and “station to station”), “bar sinister,” “the weed of crime bears sour fruit,” “between the satan and the deep blue sea,” “will o’ the wisp,” “poor as Job’s turkey” . . . those are only a couple of words that have been as soon as a part of daily speech. despite the fact that, because of our evolving language and different cultural adjustments, there are 1000s of words poised near to extinction. Can such endangered words be kept? And if that is so, why? those are questions Steven D. fee, award-winning writer and prepared observer of the passing linguistic scene, solutions during this not easy and fascinating compilation. it truly is certain to elevate your appreciation of the English language’s ebb and flow—and increase your personal vocabulary alongside the way.

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Within the Odyssey, Odysseus and his workforce come upon the Lotus Eaters, island population who spend their lives consuming a narcotic that factors them to be drowsy and disinterested in something yet their very own excitement, kind of Homeric Flower youngsters. numerous workforce participants partook and needed to be dragged again to the send to which they have been chained until eventually they kicked the behavior. front room lizard: a guy drawn to snaring a prosperous girl. The word was once first heard after international battle I, while it used to be utilized to musicians who played in supper golf equipment and stored a watch out for weak girls of potential. because the century improved, a guy didn’t must be a musician; any well-dressed predatory male earned that word. a few say “lizard” noted reptile sneakers that have been well known sneakers; different say the observe applies to the men’s low-life personality. “Lounge lizard” is the male similar of “gold digger. ” M mad as a hatter: loopy. the traditional clarification comes from the influence to the mind brought on by mercury nitrate utilized by 18th- and 19th-century hatmakers. one other view holds that “mad” initially intended “poisonous” and “hatter” is a corruption of the Saxon observe “atter,” the adder snake, the chunk of which impacts the mind. In any occasion, the Mad Hatter personality in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is an affidavit to eccentricity bordering on insanity. mad as a March hare: loopy. in line with folklore, hares behave as if they’re “sparring” with different hares and jumping round for no discernible cause in the course of their breeding season. Their breeding season in Europe starts in the course of the month of March. major drag: the most important or most crucial thoroughfare of a city or urban. “Drag” got here from a time period for a wagon or carriage horse might pull or drag. through extension the line on which the automobile used to be dragged turned a slang observe for “street”—think of drag racing. make whoopee: rejoice noisily; a genteelly funny time period for having sex. In both chase, “whoopee” is the sound of delight. “Makin’ Whoopee” is the name of a 1928 hit music via Eddie Cantor, a cautionary story within which the guy in query is going from courtship to marriage to fatherhood and different obligations and at last to divorce. guy alive! : an expression of shock or excitement. The word probably arose in its place to anything better, resembling “Good lord! ” which might were appropriate to these those who objected to taking the deity’s identify in useless. demeanour born: conversant in such issues. The word comes from Hamlet: “But to my brain, even though i'm local the following. And to the way born, it's a customized / extra honour’d within the breach than the observance. ” The frequent confusion among “manner and “manor” has been occurring for a minimum of centuries. “To the manor born,” within the experience of conversant in luxurious as though raised in an aristocratic atmosphere, used to be used because the identify of a British sitcom that accomplished a few acceptance on American public tv. matinee idol: a good-looking male motion picture actor whose reveal presence excites lady audiences.

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