Phrases and names - their origins and meanings - PDF book by Trench H Johnson

 Phrases and names, their origins and meanings  

Phrases and names, their origins and meanings
Phrases and names


A dictionary that is arranged alphabetically for the meaning of words which we use but we do not know the real meaning or the story behind them


Few words are necessary to introduce this work to the reader. It partakes of the nature of an encyclopedia, with the saving clause that the information it sets forth is confined to a plain statement of facts. Verbal embellishments have been studiously avoided. Those who seek additional intelligence may easily obtain it from ordinarily available sources. To account for the origin of popular phrases and names has been the author's sole design. To the best of his knowledge, no other work of the kind exists.

 From the stores of his own knowledge, acquired through many years of omnivorous reading, patient inquiry, and investigation, he has been enabled to bring together an Olla podrida which should go far towards supplying a word

The origin of place-names is interesting in that it opens up the history of peoples and the civilising influences if so one might term it, of conquest. London street-names, in particular, convey in one word to a person of antiquarian tastes as much meaning as " a volume of forgotten lore." 

As to phrases and expressions, the author has made a special study of the subject. A great many Americanisms have been included, but as the number is daily increasing it would require a -monthly publication of such home-made phrases to keep fully abreast with the times. 

That nothing should be wanting in the way of exhaustiveness, it has been thought advisable to incorporate in the vi Preface text a number of slang terms and expressions which daily assail one's ears.

To the author, the compilation of this volume has been a pleasant recreation in the intervals of more exacting literary labours. If it is found to contain a plethora of good things, the reader will, of course, take them out in small doses.

Example for A 


.A1 An expression meaning "first-rate." Derived from Lloyd's " Registry of Shipping," in which letters denote the quality of a ship's hull, and figure that of its equipment. A vessel registered Ai is of the first class in all respects.
Abbey Laird. An insolvent debtor who in former times sought the sanctuary of the precincts of Holyrood Abbey against arrest.
Abbey Road. From the ancient abbey of the Holy Virgins of St John the Baptist in St John's Wood.
Abbotsford. The name was given by Sir Walter Scott to his residence on the banks of the Tweed, from the poetical assumption that the abbots of Melrose must have forded the stream hereabouts in olden times;
A.B.C. Girls. Waitresses at the depots of the Aerated Bread Company Limited.
Aberdeen. From the Celtic aber, estuary, confluence; the town at the mouth of the Dee.
Abemethy Biscuits. From the name of the baker who introduced them. Their connection with Dr Abernethy was repudiated by the great physician himself.
Aberystwith. The town at the mouth of the Ystwith.
Abigail. The generic name for a waiting-maid, in allusion to the handmaid who introduced herself to David (i Sam. XXV. 23). Its popularity during the second half of the seventeenth century.


the book details :
  • Author: Trench H Johnson
  • Publication date: 1906
  • Company: Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott company

  • Download 7.2 MB = 400 pages

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