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Who Said That First? The Curious Origins of Common Words and Phrases by Max Cryer

Who Said That First? The Curious Origins of Common Words and Phrases

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This witty and accessible compendium reveals the obscure origins of over 500 common phrases, dispelling myths and offering plenty of fascinating facts to delight the trivia-holic in all of us.

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Who Said That First? The Curious Origins of Common Words and Phrases by Max Cryer

Who first wrote 'absence makes the heart grow fonder', 'accidentally on purpose' or 'no pain, no gain?' Did you know that there is no evidence Queen Victoria said 'We are not amused' or Marie Antoinette proclaimed 'Let them eat cake', but 'iron curtain' was in use for 40 years before Winston Churchill said it, and we have P.G. Wodehouse to thank for 'straight from the horse's mouth'?


Featured on -- Today Programme BBC Radio 4 Featured on -- Radio 5 Live BBC Radio 5 Featured on BBC World Service 'Who Who Who gave Santa his catchphrase? Father Christmas will soon be chortling Ho, Ho, Ho! to excited children - but where did he get that from? New book Who Said That First? explores the often obscure origins of more than 500 common phrases. Some may sound, well, Beyond the Pale, and you might say: Naff Off! But do you know where a Blood Mary tipple gets its name?
The Sun

'this book's happy mission is to restore credit to the creative people who first said (or at least wrote down) hit the nail on the head ... small but perfectly formed ... I'll eat my hat ..., and so on... Cryer also unearths some surprising facts... Cryer has worked hard and writes a pleasingly compact prose. Or, in other words that probably won't catch on: he gives good microstyle.'
The Guardian

'a brilliant book exploring the curious origins of common words and phrases. If you've ever pondered where 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder'
comes from, you

'll like this.'
St Christopher

's Live Your Life e-zine 'This book will open up many a debate in pubs and homes everywhere.'
Best of British

'This is one of those delightful books that is so enjoyable to get lost in but can also be very useful for settling an argument... From classical terms such as 'bread and circuses'
to modern adjectives like

'metrosexual', there are so many rich references here.'
The Good Book Guide

'The kind of delightful book you get lost in, and that is also useful for settling an argument about the origin of certain sayings.'
The Good Book Guide

About the Author

Max Cryer is an established authority on the English language, whose books have been sold around the world. He hosts a weekly radio slot on quirks of the English language.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd October 2011


Max Cryer

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Summersdale Publishers


224 pages


The Real World
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