Bees' Knees and Barmy Armies

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More About This Title Bees' Knees and Barmy Armies


From stiff upper lip to stomping grounds, an amusing look at the history behind commonly-used words and phrases


What makes someone "pleased as punch?" Why is New York City called "The Big Apple?" Why do we "dress to the nines?"And what does it mean to escape by the "skin of your teeth?" Every day speech is peppered with hundreds of phrases and expressions, but rarely are their origins contemplated. This intriguing survey delves deep into the history behind hundreds of common words and turns of phrase and uncovers their fascinating and amusing sources. From ancient idioms to up-to-the minute lingo, this is the perfect resource for etymologists and language-lovers alike.


Harry Oliver is the author of Black Cats and April Fools, Bubble Gum and Hula HoopsCat Flaps and Mousetraps, and March Hares and Monkeys' Uncles.