Concise Thesaurus of Traditional English Metaphors
Routledge – 2007 – 384 pages
This absorbing collection of metaphors includes a variety of expressions with figurative meanings, like similes, proverbs, slang and catchphrases. It is the result of a lifetime of work on dialect and metaphor and gives an overview of the folk wisdom expressed in figurative expressions. The author draws on his extensive contact with the rural cultures of Dorset, Cornwall, Yorkshire and Lancashire, but has also included a range of sayings from North America, Australia, Scotland and other English speaking countries.
With revised contents and an improved index to make individual entries easier to find, the Concise can be used to check the meaning and the origin of an expression or to avoid mixed metaphors, anachronisms and incongruities. It is a joy to browse long after your original query has been answered.
Praise for The Consise Thesaurus of Traditional English Metaphors:
‘This book is a fascinating work and a great scholarly achievement. It is well worth browsing individual (sub-) sections, and there are interesting, surprising and often amusing discoveries to make. This book should find its place in many academic and reference libraries, and will be of interest for all those with an interest in cultural history, dialectology, folklore, English literature, language and linguistics.’ – www.linguistlist.org
Part 1: The Human World 1. Human Relationships 2. Communications 3. The Body, Body-Care 4. Illness and Death 5. The Home, Calendar and Clocks 6. Housework 7. Food and Drink and its Preparation 8. Clothing 9. Work, Tools, Slavery 10. Poverty 11. Riches, Trade, Markets, Shopping 12. Town Life, Parks and Gardens 13. Farming, Farm-Work 14. Crafts and Skills, Industry, Machinery, Milling 15. The Imaginative, Spiritual and Intellectual Life 16. The Arts 17. Sports, Games and Entertainment 18. Travel 19. Beggars, Tramps 20. Criminals, the Law 21. Naval, Military, Royalist and Political Matters Part 2: Nature and the Animal World 22. Skies, Landscapes 23. Woods 24. Wild Flora 25. Land Creatures 26. Water Creatures 27. Birds 28. Reptiles and Amphibians 29. Insects
Dick Wilkinson is a retired forestry Commission worker who studied Classics, Old English and Old Norse at Cambridge University. Struck by how many words and phrases in English acquired their present meanings through metaphor, he started to note them down. The Thesaurus is the culmination of a lifetime’s study of the English language.