Why You Say It: The Fascinating Stories Behind Over 600 Everyday Words and Phrases
Ambrose E. Burnside, a one-time manufacturer of rifles, is the only man who twice refused command of the Army of the Potomac in the Civil War - only ... Show synopsis Ambrose E. Burnside, a one-time manufacturer of rifles, is the only man who twice refused command of the Army of the Potomac in the Civil War - only to accept the post under stern orders from President Lincoln. He was three-time governor of Rhode Island and a U.S. senator. Yet Burnside is remembered most for the term "sideburns" - which is named after him. Why You Say It is a collection of stories of words and phrases in wide use today. It is a complete revision of a popular earlier work and focuses in particular on how words have taken on new meanings over time. Why You Say It explains that an impatient person will "jump the gun" like an athlete who beats the starter's signal at the beginning of the race; that one who "knows the ropes" is experienced like a sailor who masters the rigging that controls a sailing ship; that one who "barges in" bursts into a situation much like a river barge that is difficult to stop or change direction; and that one who wants the absolute truth needs to get it "straight from the horse's mouth" like a potential buyer who learns a horse's age from its teeth. Informative, often humorous, and always revealing, Why You Say It is a fascinating collection of anecdotes about words and phrases.