Heavens to Betsy! and Other Curious Sayings
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Heavens to Betsy! and Other Curious Sayings

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  70 ratings  ·  12 reviews
He's as mad as a hatter!

Whether it's like a bump on a log or a bat out of hell, these expressions have been around forever, but we've never really known why ... until now! Finally Dr. Funk explains more than 400 droll, colorful, and sometimes pungent expressions of everyday speech. Derived from classical sources, historic events, famous literature, frontier humor, and t

Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 28th 1986 by Harper Perennial (first published 1955)
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I recall this being a very fun little compendium.
This book was interesting, but there were parts of it that I just skimmed because some of the phrases were unfamiliar to me-- out of date? I would be interested in reading a more current book on a similar theme.

Some interesting things I learned from this book:
-"Ham actor" originated from "hamfatter", which was applied to Black minstrels starting around 1875.
-Having someone "by the short hairs" didn't, at least at one time, refer to the pubic hairs, but rather to the beard, or the little hairs o...more
Sarah Sammis
Heavens to Betsy was first published in 1955 and is still in print. I think by 1955 most of the "curious sayings" were already falling out of common use and by now this laundry list of sayings seems more like a strange historical document than a current look at popular expressions in day-to-day speech.

Funk's begins the book with an explanation as to why "Heavens to Betsy" inspired the writing of the book. Although he gives no definitive explanation about the history or origin of the saying the p...more
Bailey Jane
This is one of those interesting books that sheds a little light on those little phrases you've always wondered, "How did that ever come to be said?" It's a great coffee table book as anyone can thumb through it and be more enlightened than before they sat down! It's nice to have one of those books around that isn't necessarily meant to be read in any kind of order. Just opening to a page and reading is sufficient!
I thought this would be really interesting, and at first it was. First of all: it rapidly became BORING! This author completely sucked the life and interest out of the subject. In addition, since it was written in 1955, meanings of some of the expressions have actually changed! It felt dated beyond belief.
That was interesting, and even funny at times, but could have been more readable. The entries doen't appear to be organized in any way, they don't follow a theme, they're not divided into chapters. I would hate to have to look up an expression in this book.
The book covers a good number of expressions, but most of them are ones I heard before an already knew what they meant. I was somewhat skeptical about the origins he gave for some of the expressions, but it was a fun read overall.
I love finding out where interesting sayings come from, but this book wasn't what I was looking for. Many of the sayings' origins are obvious, and others are so outdated that I had never heard them used.
This book is an interesting compendium of curious mostly American sayings, along with a brief history of how they came about. A rather fun romp through history via local color.
Aug 11, 2013 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: box-1
From 1955, so some of the phrases are out of date, it is still a fun, and occasionally educational, read.
A fascinating trip down the history of our language's vocabulary and witticisms.
Interesting origins of familiar sayings.Absorbing read.
Melissa Brunk
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