“The Dogs Days of Summer” Origins of Unusual Phrases & Expressions

Have you ever wondered about the origin of the crazy words and phrases we use? From “breaking the ice” to “a wild goose chase,” these seemingly illogical expressions fill our everyday language without a second thought.

Join an educator from the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in exploring the strange and varied origins of a range of English idioms and sayings.

Located in downtown Madison, METC explores American history with a focus on the life and stories of 18th- and 19th- century craftsmen and artisans. Drawing on its rich collection, METC is connecting the lives of people and their stories, while providing a bridge from the past to the future. For information about METC, please call 973-377-2982 or visit their website at www.metc.org.

The talk can be viewed on the Library’s YouTube channel:

And if the presentation has piqued your interest in the topic here are some ebooks on Hoopla  to further enlighten you:

Common Phrases And the Amazing Stories Behind Them by Max Cryer

In day-to-day speech, we use words and phrases without a passing thought as to why we use them or where they come from. Max Cryer changes all that by showing how fascinating the English language really is. Did you know that the former host of Today, Jane Pauley, claims to have coined the term “bad hair day,” or that a CBS engineer named Charley Douglass invented the name and use of “canned laughter” for television, or that “cold turkey” as a term for quitting something immediately was popularized by the novel and movie (starring Frank Sinatra), The Man with the Golden Arm? Here you’ll learn the origins of “credibility gap,” “my lips are sealed,” “the opera’s not over until the fat lady sings,” “supermarket,” “supermodel,” “there’s no accounting for taste,” “thick as thieves,” and hundreds more. For anyone who loves language, this book will “take the cake.”

Sayings and Phrases (series of 18 titles)

Thanks to whimsical illustrations and everyday examples, kids can finally discover the true meanings behind some of the world’s strangest idioms such as Break a Leg, Hold Your Horses, That’s The Last Straw, and many more.. Entries show how to use each idiom correctly, through examples and real-world situations. This lively series provides an appealing way for young readers to learn more about these fun, fascinating parts of the English language.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

Livingston, NJ 07039, USA

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