The English language contains a vast store of idioms that can be used in creative and forceful ways. This totally revised and greatly expanded edition of Dictionary of Idioms examines over 500 such phrases, tracing each one's source and history through a rich supply of examples.
New entries include 'playing fast and loose' (from a 16th-century fairground game), 'head over heels' (a totally illogical variation on the more sensible 'heels over head') and 'knee-high to a grasshopper' (which won out over knee-high to a mosquito and knee-high to a toad).
Mini-essays scattered through the book enable the authors to expand on such broader themes as: What is an Idiom?, National Rivalries and the Old Curiosity Shop of Linguistics. While maintaining scholarly accuracy, Linda and Roger Flavell convey their great love of the curious in language in a way that will be irresistible to anyone who delights in words.