|About the Book|
Idioms are the stuff of conversation, and it can he argued that their foundation in the spoken word places them in the forefront of a languages evolution. Like a living organism, a language has to adapt to survive, or it is in danger of becomingMoreIdioms are the stuff of conversation, and it can he argued that their foundation in the spoken word places them in the forefront of a languages evolution. Like a living organism, a language has to adapt to survive, or it is in danger of becoming extinct. Idioms are among the chief means by which such adaptation occurs. But what are idioms? When literal meanings are applied to individual words in a combination of words, and the intended meaning of the combination does not emerge, we are usually dealing with an idiom. Put another way, an English idiom cannot generally he translated into another language and preserve its meaning. Idioms are illogical and follow few of the rules of English grammar, let alone that of another language. is meant if a person is described as a dark horse or a queer fish. Obviously no person is literally a horse or a fish of any colour or strangeness. Yet the expressions dark fish and queer horse are not accepted idioms. Only certain combinations of words are acceptable, and these have to be learned. The purpose of this book is to assist in the learning process. It contains more than 10,000 idioms and idiomatic savings in current English usage. Each is defined, and each has at least one sentence that provides an example of how the idiom is used. Each idiom is listed under a key word that forms part of it. If more than one word can be regarded as a key word, the idiom is assigned to one of them and included as a cross- reference under the others. Thus mad as a March hare is defined under hare, but also included as a cross-reference under mad and March.