Adult Books

Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas
Popular Expressions—What They Mean and How We Got Them

By Judy Parkinson

Subject: Bestselling I Used to Know That Series
Paper-over-board | 176 pages | 5 3/8 x 8
US$14.95 | CAN$15.95
Publication Date: 2010-10-01
ISBN: 9781606521717
“Make no bones about it” — here’s a “grand slam” for anyone seeking the meanings of catch phrases and quotes that enrich our everyday speech. It “rounds up the usual suspects” — hundreds of expressions that keep our language flourishing— and makes them easy to find in an A-to-Z format. If “all goes according to plan, ” you’ll soon know:

  • The expressions “all that glitters is not gold” and “apple of the eye” have each been in use for more than 1,000 years.
  • “To bark up the wrong tree” comes from the sport of raccoon hunting.
  • “The big enchilada” was used to describe someone on the infamous Watergate tapes.
  • “Flavor of the month” was a generic advertising phrase of the mid-1940s used to describe new ice cream flavors.
  • “Baker’s dozen” is 13, one more than the standard dozen, and goes back to medieval times, when Henry III called for the severe punishment of any bakers caught shortchanging customers. English bakers developed the habit of including an extra loaf of bread when asked for a dozen to ensure that they wouldn’t be condemned.
  • “Drop of a hat” alludes to the frontier practice of dropping a hat as a signal for a boxing or wrestling match to begin, usually the only formality observed.
  • “Sleep tight” dates back to when beds were made of rope and straw. Before going to sleep at night, people would have to pull the ropes tight, as they would have loosened during the course of the previous night’s sleep.

With this clever book on hand, you’ll never have to “throw in the towel” during a battle of wits. Whether you need homework help or want to win that trivia game, this series is the trusted source for fun facts. Make this a permanent fixture on your eReader, and you’ll have instant access to searchable knowledge. EPub ISBN: 9781606522844


Judy Parkinson is a graduate of Bristol University. She is a producer of documentaries, music videos, and commercials, and won a Clio award for a Greenpeace ad. Parkinson has published four books and has contributed to a show of life drawings at the Salon des Arts, Kensington.