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Loose Cannons, Red Herrings, and Other Lost Metaphors

Loose Cannons, Red Herrings, and Other Lost Metaphors

Robert Claiborne

ISBN: 978-0-393-32186-9

*Norton agency titles

256 pages

Select type: Paperback

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The English language is a treasury of splendid mysteries, among them the many words and phrases whose origins we no longer know. Often the original meaning was literal, pertaining to forgotten objects or activities?uch as "aftermath," which once meant the grass that sprang up after a farmer had mowed a field. With the informal scholarship and good-humored wit that are his trademarks, Robert Claiborne reveals the wonders buried in our speech, vivid images of people and customs of the past. As the reader soon discovers, they are "a sort of hidden poetry that can heighten the colors and sharpen the meanings of words and phrases that we read or write daily."