Download Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat: The Complete Balderdash & by Alex Games PDF

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By Alex Games

Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat takes a funny journey in the course of the interesting, occasionally tragic, and sometimes extraordinary heritage of the English language and its etymology.

Author, slapstick comedian and word-sleuth Alex video games uncovers the developments, techniques and scandals that experience formed the meanings of our most well liked phrases and expressions, from Chaucer to net jargon and historic Greek to American slang. Who used to be the unique Jack the Lad, Gordon Bennett or Bloody Mary? the place do dodgy geezers and hooligans come from? What are skeldering, dithering and sabre-rattling?

This fun yet conscientiously researched account of English phrases and their origins combines the findings of the main BBC television sequence and the national Wordhunt, and is an pleasing treasure trove for English-language enthusiasts everywhere.

"It was once enjoyable, instructive and should attract the scholarly in we all. I see no earthly the reason is, it may now not, because it used to assert on theatre posters, run and run" --Peter Paterson, day-by-day Mail

"It's the type of express that sticks a boot up the posterior of these who declare the BBC is just attracted to dumbing down pap nowadays" --Dominik Diamond, day-by-day Star

"Fascinating" --The Times

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Read or Download Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat: The Complete Balderdash & Piffle Collection of English Words, and Their Curious Origins PDF

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Extra info for Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat: The Complete Balderdash & Piffle Collection of English Words, and Their Curious Origins

Sample text

Similarly, the words of Shakespeare live on in daily speech, from what the dickens (The Merry Wives of Windsor) to a foregone conclusion (Othello). The expression all Greek to me is borrowed from Julius Caesar, and playing fast and loose comes from Antony and Cleopatra. And so it goes on: cold comfort is from King John, making a virtue of necessity is from Pericles, and the first recorded use of the word obscene is in Richard III. Without Shakespeare, would we be using words such as accommodation, assassination, barefaced, countless, courtship, dwindle, eventful, fancy-free, lacklustre, laughable, premeditated and submerge?

In the past, varieties of dialect speech may have been exploited for comic purpose, and it may even have been thought that standard English would one day supplant the huge wealth of accents and dialects that have given English its colour and character. Fortunately, we have moved away from such ideas, and every variation in speech is now welcomed as part of the family. ’, we now recognize that the heart of a language is nourished by its extremities. All communities feed the body, in the broadest sense of the word.

Whenever you look out of a window, you are looking straight through a word with Viking roots, and one that represents a victory over two other contenders for the same title. Originally, or at least from 890 (the time of King Alfred, and we have the documents to prove it) to about 1225, we used to look through eyethurls. This word was comprehensively trounced by the Middle English fenester (not a million miles from the French fenêtre, which shows how close the two languages once were), which made its pitch between at least 1290 and 1548.

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