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Why You Say It

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  97 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews

The Fascinating stories behind over 600 everyday words and phrases such as...

Shindig - A veteran square dance caller will tell you that bruised shins result from the swigging feet of beginning dancers. A dance that leaves telltale marks on the lower legs of participants is a shindig.

Alibi - The word is taken straight from Latin and means "elsewhere." The perfect "alibi

Hardcover, 356 pages
Published January 28th 2000 by MJF Books (first published November 30th 1954)
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Mar 12, 2010 Cindi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book and 100 % of the opinions given here are my own unless otherwise stated.

This book explores the origins behind many of our everyday phrases and words. It gives a brief look into the past and explains why certain phrases became popular in the first place and why they have managed to stay in the lexicon of current usage. At 348 pages of actual reading material, the book covers topics from entertainment to food to conversati
Why You Say It looked interesting to me because of my passing interest in etymology. The book, written by Webb Garrison, examines the history behind common words and phrases that the average English speaking person encounters nearly every day.

I'm not sure really how to rate this book. At times it was interesting; however, more often than not, I was eager to skip ahead. Each word or phrase reads like a Wikipedia article: brief, hitting the important things, and slightly wordy.

Some words and phras
May 02, 2015 Shab rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book for those of us, to whom, English is not first or second language.
You read the phrase, and have no idea, why the people use it, in what context, and what they want to say. I normally ask people, but most of the time, they have no idea. Specially those who use any language as their first.
Think about the meaning of Yankee, Gringo...
Kelly Hager
This book explains why certain words and phrases are used the way they are. I was very excited to get it because I love knowing things like that.

It's a little disappointing because I felt like some of the words here aren't really in the common vernacular anymore (who says "high muckety-muck", for example) but it's still a very good resource.

And it's full of little tidbits that I can annoy people with.

For instance, did you know Charles M. Schulz was the guy who first used security blanket? And is
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Aug 16, 2013 Randy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle says it all. I spent the summer reading a few entries a day (a page or two) before falling asleep at night. Adequate and mostly informative but not the sort of thing one looks back with as a "summer" read and recommends to others.
Barbara Lovejoy
Apr 23, 2011 Barbara Lovejoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cover doesn't like the cover of the book I just read but it's the same title and the same author. This was a fun book to read. I use so many of the words and phrases every day but never stop to think where they came from.
Susabelle Kelmer
Another of those great reads when you only have a few minutes. Pump up your brain and learn why you say what you say, the stories behind over 600 everyday words and phrases. I think I'll start with "Plug Away."
Mar 05, 2009 Mercedes rated it liked it
This book provides scratch-on-the-surface historical stories for many expressions we use today. It's quite interesting, although it could be more thorough.
Jun 25, 2011 Ed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
Lots of short stories on the origins of phrases, but all so brief and superficial. All the flair of reading an abridged dictionary.
Nov 19, 2013 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title says it all. If you're interested in how various words and phrases came into our language, this will provide such information.
Jennifer Daniel
A fun read for any language fanatic. I always feel like a real smarty pants when I know the hidden meaning behind things.
Sep 04, 2007 AF rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bathroom readers
Interesting little tidbits about that strange English language.
Thinking this was a gift.
Megan Winston
Sep 01, 2013 Megan Winston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Very interesting read!
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