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Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
by Ivor Evans
ISBN 0062700774 / 9780062700773 / 0-06-270077-4
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Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is one of the world's best-loved reference books. First published in 1870, this treasury of 'words that have a tale to tell has established itself as one of the great reference classics-the first port of call for tens of thousands of terms, phrases and proper names, and a fund of fascinating, unusual and out-of-the-way information.
At the heart of the dictionary lie entries on the meaning and origin of a vast range of words and expressions, from everyday phrases to Latin tags. Alongside these are articles on people and events in mythology and religion, and on folk customs, superstitions and beliefs. Major events and people in history are also treated, as are movements in art and literature, famous literary characters, and key aspects of popular culture, philosophy, geography, science and magic. To complete this rich mix of information, Brewer and his subsequent editors have added an extraordinary and enticing miscellany of general knowledge-lists of patron saints, terms in heraldry, regimental nicknames, public house names, and famous last words.
For the sixteenth edition of Brewer's the entire existing text has been revised and updated and over 1000 new articles added. These include:
Brand-new articles on hurricane names, celebrated place-names in literature, and frequently mispronounced words continue the century-old Brewer's practice of recording unexpected and fascinating information that is not available in other general reference books.[via]