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Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms by Ayto, John at Abbey's Bookshop,

Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms

Ayto, John


Oxford University Press

Dictionaries; Usage & grammar guides; Dialect, slang & jargon; Reference; Popular culture


416 pages


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Did you know that 'flavour of the month' originated in a marketing campaign in American ice-cream parlours in the 1940s, when a particular flavour would be specially promoted for a month at a time? And did you know that 'off the cuff' refers to the rather messy practice of writing impromptu notes on one's shirt cuff before speaking in public? These and many more idioms are explained and put into context in this third edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. The volume takes a fresh look at the idiomatic phrases and sayings that make English the rich and intriguing language that it is. This major new edition contains entries for over 6,000 idioms, including 700 entirely new entries, based on Oxford's language monitoring and the ongoing third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. These include a range of recently established idioms such as 'the elephant in the corner', 'go figure', 'like a rat up a drainpipe', 'sex on legs', 'step up to the plate', 'too posh to push', 'a walk in the park', 'win ugly'. This edition also features a greatly increased number of cross-references, making it ideal for quick reference. Many entries include additional features which give more detailed background on the idiom in question. For example, did you know that 'taken aback' was adopted from nautical terminology that described a ship unable to move forward because of a strong headwind pressing its sails back against the mast? Anyone interested in the colourful side of the English language will get hours of fun browsing from this fascinating and informative volume.

Edited by:   Ayto John
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   3rd Revised edition
Dimensions:   Height: 196mm,  Width: 128mm,  Spine: 26mm
Weight:   303g


ISBN 10:   019954378X
Series:   Oxford Paperback Reference
Pages:   416
Publication Date:   October 2010
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Preface Dictionary Thematic Index

This fascinating book reminds us how much of English is a sort of code. Christopher Hirst, The Independent

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