Idioms and Slang Dictionary by Farlex gives you definitions and examples from top sources like McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin for more than 61,000 terms, including:
Get clear, in-depth definitions of tens of thousands of idioms used in the US and throughout English-speaking world. You say them every day, but do you know where they come from? Get the history behind the phrase.
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Here's a sneak-peak of what you'll find inside:
let the cat out of the bag
Give away a secret, as in "Mom let the cat out of the bag and told us Karen was engaged." This expression alludes to the dishonest practice of a merchant substituting a worthless cat for a valuable pig, which is discovered only when the buyer gets home and opens the bag. [Mid-1700s]
An element of hope or a redeeming quality in an otherwise bad situation, as in "The rally had a disappointing turnout, but the silver lining was that those who came pledged a great deal of money." This metaphoric term is a shortening of "Every cloud has a silver lining," in turn derived from John Milton's Comus (1634): "A sable cloud turns forth its silver lining on the night."
a picture is worth a thousand words
A graphic illustration conveys a stronger message than words, as in "The book jacket is a big selling point—one picture is worth a thousand words." This saying was invented by an advertising executive, Fred R. Barnard. To promote his agency's ads he took out an ad in Printer's Ink in 1921 with the headline "One Look Is Worth a Thousand Words" and attributed it to an ancient Japanese philosopher. Six years later he changed it to "Chinese Proverb: One Picture Is Worth Ten Thousand Words," illustrated with some Chinese characters. The attribution in both was invented; Barnard simply believed an Asian origin would give it more credibility.
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