Port Out, Starboard Home: And Other Language Myths

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9780140515343: Port Out, Starboard Home: And Other Language Myths

What is the true origin of the phrase 'one fell swoop'? Does the word 'honeymoon' really derive from an old Persian custom of giving the happy couple mead, a honey wine, for the first month after the wedding? The rapid growth of the internet and the use of email has increased the circulation of (usually) false tales about the evolution of language. In this entertaining and fascinating new book on the origins of words and expressions, Michael Quinion retells the mythic tales that have become popular currency - the word 'posh' deriving from 'port out, starboard home' - and also tries to find and explain the true stories behind the origins of phrases. Quinion offers explanations of why and how stories about words are created, and how misunderstanding word origins - while usually harmless - can have serious consequences.

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About the Author:

Michael Quinion has contributed to the Oxford Dictionary of New Words (2nd edition), edited the weekly Daily Telegraph new words column, and is author of a dictionary of affixes, Ologies and Isms (OUP). Since 1996 he has produced the weekly e-newsletter World Wide Words, which has an associated website. He lives in Bristol.

Review:

Michael Quinion's World Wide Words is the web authority on English etymology (word origins) and usage-come here for definitive information on some of the most interesting, amusing and downright weird words and phrases in the English language. Cambridge Dictionaries Online web site (February 2003)

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