Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat: English Words and Phrases, and Their Curious Origins

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BBC, 2008 - English language - 544 pages
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Kick the Bucket and Swing the Cat takes a humorous tour through the fascinating, sometimes tragic, and often surprising history of the English language and its etymology. Author, humorist and word-sleuth Alex Games uncovers the trends, innovations and scandals that have shaped the meanings of our most popular words and expressions, from Chaucer to Internet jargon and Ancient Greek to American slang. Who was the original Jack the Lad, Gordon Bennett or Bloody Mary? Where do dodgy geezers and hooligans come from? What are skeldering, dithering and sabre-rattling? This amusing but rigorously researched account of English words and their origins combines the findings of the major BBC TV series and the nationwide Wordhunt, and is an entertaining treasure trove for English-language lovers everywhere.

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About the author (2008)

Alex Games wrote the original Balderdash & Piffle which became an instant bestseller on publication in January 2006. He has written for most of the slightly posher newspapers, and in a brief stint as a gadget columnist he was responsible for reviewing some of the most inexpensive items ever to appear in the Financial Times. As well as writing comedy for BBC Radio 1 and 4, Alex has written biographies of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and Alan Bennett.

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