Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds

Ingenious Tales of Words and Their Origins

By Michael Quinion
(Smithsonian Books (DC), Hardcover, 9781588342195, 280pp.)

Publication Date: October 2004

List Price: $19.95*
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The real story of a word or phrase's origin and evolution is often much stranger--and much more humorous--than the commonly accepted one; the many entries will certainly leave you "happy as a clam." Happy as a clam? Really, what's so happy about being a clam? The saying makes much more sense when it's paired with its missing second half: "at high water." Now a clam at high water is a safe clam, and thus a happy clam. From the bawdy to the sublime, Quinion's explanations and delightful asides truly prove that the "proof is in the pudding.

About the Author
Michael Quinion hosts and writes the World Wide Words Web site and is a contributor to the "Oxford English Dictionary."
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