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Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable


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Includes more than 7500 words, idioms, catchphrases, slogans, names, nicknames, 'named' events and book, film and TV-programme titles - all defined and fully explained Includes definitions and etymologies of new words and phrases Blends scholarly authority with a generous helping of sheer fun

About the Author

Adrian Room, the editor of BREWER'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE, is one of Britain's most experienced compilers of reference books. He is the author of more than 50 popular reference books, mainly on the origins of words, and, in particular, names. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the English Place-Name Society and American Name Society.


Fables and commonplace phrases originate from the need to articulate concepts and circumstances that defy conventional phraseology. Evolving from both written and spoken sources (though more commonly from the latter), they bring together words, names, and expressions that have cultural resonance. These volumes provide ample documentation of such terms in the English language, citing both origin and common usage. Beyond simple definitions, the works also include quotations from classical and modern literature. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, first issued in 1870, has flourished for over 100 years and has been updated frequently. (See LJ 7/00 for a review of the 16th edition.) The current work, ably edited by prolific lexicographer Room, who also worked on the 16th edition, borrows the style and approach of the original dictionary but focuses on material from the late 20th to the 21st centuries. Arranged alphabetically, this approachable work contains more than 8000 entries. Vastly more comprehensive, The Oxford Dictionary references some 20,000 citations. Knowles, managing editor of the Oxford quotations dictionaries, draws upon Oxford's unrivaled bank of language lore and literary tradition to span a vast array of topics, including classical mythology, religion, folk custom, history, science, and technology. The entries, whether brief citations or longer discussions boasting colorful details and lucid text, are distinguished by unparalleled research. Illustrative quotations and thousands of biographies are also included. Both of these volumes are vital reference tools required by all meaningful reference collections. Richard K. Burns, MSLS, Hatboro, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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