I picked up this book late on a Friday afternoon and couldn’t put it down. While not strictly an editor’s resource, it could be useful to fiction authors and feature writers and even if you don’t use it for professional reasons, it’s a great weekend read.
Businessman Allan Goodbrand has written Know your Onions: A Light-Hearted Look at Popular Idioms and Sayings – and claims in the introduction that there are a more than 10,000 such expressions in the English language.
In some cases the origins of the saying are not entirely clear or more than one possible origin is suggested. The book is divided into six chapters which include sayings with a nautical origin, some of American origin and one on sayings which you expect to be obvious but aren’t.
The book includes over 150 sayings and idioms, many of which you would use or hear in everyday conversation, but can you guess their origins?
Do you think you know the history of ‘As Mad as a Hatter’, ‘Slush Fund’, ‘To Hell in a Hand Basket’, ‘Spill the Beans’ or ‘Cat’s Pyjamas’? Goodbrand’s Know you Onions has the answers.
Goodbrand A, Know your Onions, Great Britain, The Book Guild Ltd, 2015. ISBN 978 1 910508 53 4