Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins

Cecil has several times cited this two volume work by William and Mary Morris. When I was growing up we had a copy, and it became a running joke. Everytime we would be wondering about the origin of some idiom, we would look it up, and it would never be in there. The second volume came out, but it didn’t have any of the things we looked up either. If we just read what was there, it seemed to be the same kind of information you could get from a dictionary.

When Cecil cites it, he usually admits there’s a lack of good information, but he stops short of concluding, as we did, that it’s a piece of crap. And he keeps citing it. Has anyone had a different experience with it?

I suppose Cecil “keeps citing it” because the words and phrases he wants are in there.

Give us some “fer intances”?

William and Mary’s son, Evan Morris, runs a pretty good website called the Word Detective (www.word-detective.com) that has a lot of stuff that isn’t in mom & dad’s books.

I justlove the Word Detective. Very informative, and funny, too. Another site, equally informative albeit less humorous, is Jesse’s Word of the Day: http://www.jessesword.com . Jesse has even answered one of my questions already!