Home Books The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Fourth Edition

The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Fourth Edition
  • Authored by: Robert Hendrickson
  • From the Series: Writers Reference
  • Trim Size: 8-1/2 x 11
  • ISBN-10: 0816069662
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-6966-8
  • Status: In Stock
  • List Price: $95.00
  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 09/01/2008
  • Dewey Number: 422
  • Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
  • Pages: 960


Praise for the previous editions:
"A feast for phrase detectives...that will enliven debates and illuminate issues."—William Safire

"This marvelous reference has grown by about a third from its predecessor...will appeal to researchers...having [this information] in one book is hard to beat."—American Reference Books Annual

"...couple[s] etymology with humor...recommended..."—Booklist

"...diverse...highly readable...Linguists, historians, and word connoisseurs will appreciate this resource...will add value to any collection supporting language studies...Highly recommended."—Choice

The most comprehensive single-volume reference of its kind, The Facts On File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Fourth Edition contains definitions and origins of more than 15,000 words and expressions. This encyclopedia features anecdotes and information on the development of a wide range of words, including slang, proverbs, animal and plant names, place names, nicknames, historical expressions, foreign language expressions, and phrases from literature. The emphasis throughout is on words and expressions whose origins are not adequately explained, or not addressed at all, in standard dictionaries. Approximately 2,500 new entries have been added to this edition, ranging from "Aardsma" to "zounds."

Other new entries include:

  • All she wrote
  • Blog
  • I.E.D. (Improved Explosive Device)
  • Power breakfast
  • Read my lips
  • Rome wasn't built in a day
  • Soup Nazi
  • Spider hole
  • We who are about to die salute you.


Index. Cross-references.

About the Author(s)

Robert Hendrickson is the author of more than 25 books, including The Facts On File Dictionary of American Regionalisms for Facts On File. He lives in Peconic, New York.

Reviews and Awards

"...remains the most comprehensive compendium of word and phrase origins available...ideal for both linguists and lay readers. Recommended for English collections and public libraries."

Library Journal

"Not only practical but entertaining as well, this work would complement any standard dictionary. It would prove useful in most librariesparticularly public and undergraduate libraries."


"...an entertaining, informative look at the diversity of influences on the English language. Readers will find plenty to pique their interest..."

School Library Journal

“Highly recommended especially for public library reference collections.”

Midwest Book Review

Standing Order Plan

A Standing Order Plan saves you both time and money without risking a penny of your acquisitions budget. The number of copies you indicate of each new title under the plan you select will automatically as the new edition becomes available. If, for any reason, you wish to cancel your subscription to the plan, please contact our Customer Service Department.

Standing Order Plan available for The World AlmanacĀ® for Kids:
Plan WK1 Single-title hardcover edition at 20% discount

You can use this order form (pdf) to sign up for any of our Standing Order Plans, or you can contact our Customer Service Department:

Email: custserv@factsonfile.com
Phone Number (toll-free): 1-800-322-8755
Fax Number (toll-free): 1-800-678-3633

FREE Learning Resources