Allen's Dictionary of English Phrases. Home · Allen's Dictionary of Welsh and English Idiomatic Phrases Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. Allen's Dictionary of English Phrases is the most comprehensive survey of this area of the English language ever undertaken. Taking over PENGUIN REFERENCE. Allen's Dictionary of English Phrases. Robert Allen is an experienced lexicographer and writer on a wide range of language topics.
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Learn how we and our ad partner Google, collect and use data. I should like to thank all those who helped me to write this book, and to improve earlier versions of the text: in particular Anne Seaton, who contributed hugely to the task of establishing chronology and tracking down early uses of phrases, and Rosalind Fergusson, who copy-edited the book and brought greater order to a mass of detailed information.
Any remaining inconsistencies or errors are entirely my fault. I am also very grateful for the support and encouragement of the publishers, especially Nigel Wilcockson and Sophie Lazar.
Everyone involved in the project became aware of how much the book represents work in progress and can never be the last word. I am sure there are readers who will have suggestions and improvements to offer, and theseespecially when backed up by evidence — will always be welcome. Please write to the publisher at the address on the title verso.
Robert Allen Edinburgh For the paperback reprint I have taken the opportunity to make a few routine corrections to the text, to enter an occasional antedating, and to add a few phrases that came into prominence a little too late for the original edition, including ahead of the curve and the elephant in the room.
For our purposes a phrase is a group of words, and an idiom is a group of words that occur regularly together, forming what linguists call a fixed or semifixed expression, such as round the bend and pass the buck. Another characteristic of the phrases explained here — in addition to their constant occurrence in the same form or in similar forms — is that they have a special meaning that is not in varying degrees deducible from the words from which they are formed.
Many of the phrases dealt with here, however, are prepositional, i. These can also be expressed with a preceding verb such as be or become or seem. A more difficult type to distinguish as an idiom is the compound noun or noun phrase: in general I have included these when they are phrasal in the sense of strongly implying a state or action, i.
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Most of the idioms we are concerned with here are productive, that is to say they can be fitted into sentences and altered as necessary in functional ways to suit the context in which they are being used, just as individual words can. The least productive and in many ways least interesting phrases are those that allow little or no variation, notably catchphrases such as flavour of the month , on which more is said below.
Other phrases that appear to be fixed in form are subject to variation: for example we can say a piece of the action, a slice of the action, or a share of the action. These wordbased variants are noted in the entry headings. The phrase based on a ball rolling can be launched with any of the verbs get, set, or start, as well as with a shift in meaning keep.
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Even freer variation is possible when the image suggests it. The typical form of the phrase the jury is still out on such-and-such, meaning that it is still under consideration, might be modified in the form the jury remains out on such-and-such or even the jury has ordered sandwiches on such-and-such.Array, Commission of. The decision to use the present dating system in the West — using the birth of Christ as the base year — evolved from work by Dionysius Exiguus d.
Structure: Conclusion A paragraph that restates your opinion using different words. Angelcynn [Ongelcyn]. The phrase is thought to be a metaphor from the bounding and rebounding of the ball in real tennis, and was discussed by Sir James Murray during his editing of the Oxford English Dictionary , in Notes and Queries December , p.
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