Humble Pie and Cold Turkey: English Expressions and Their Origins (Paperback)

Humble Pie and Cold Turkey: English Expressions and Their Origins By Caroline Taggart Cover Image

Humble Pie and Cold Turkey: English Expressions and Their Origins (Paperback)


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An engaging historical exploration of the bizarre words and phrases that are sprinkled throughout the English language.

The huge variety of colorful phrases contained in the English language are notoriously varied and, often, notably odd. From blue-blooded (an invention of aristocratic Spaniards) to limelight (a way of lighting Victorian theatres), passing an exam with flying colours (an image from sailing ships) to winning hands down (from horse racing), the fascinating expressions that make up our language are explored in Humble Pie and Cold Turkey.

In this highly entertaining book, language enthusiast and bestselling author Caroline Taggart browses through thousands of years of history to shed light on why we use the words and phrases we do. Arranged by themes including food, the household, childhood, romance and more, this intriguing book looks at the origins of our language from their historical context. For example, did you know that:

If you rest on your laurels, you’re imitating a complacent Roman general?
If you eavesdrop, you’re likely to get wet?
If you’re taken aback, you should, strictly speaking, be a sailing ship?
If you’re galvanized into action, you’re behaving like Frankenstein’s monster?

Humble Pie and Cold Turkey will prompt you to question the downright bizarre idioms we use to express ourselves, and answer questions you may never have thought to ask. Including why turkeys need to be cold and how pies came to be humble.

Caroline Taggart worked in publishing as an editor of popular non-fiction for thirty years before being asked by Michael O'Mara Books to write I Used to Know That, which became a Sunday Times bestseller. Following that she was co-author of My Grammar and I (or should that be 'Me'?), and wrote a number of other books about words and English usage. She has appeared frequently on television and on national and regional radio, talking about language, grammar and whether or not Druids Cross should have an apostrophe.

Her website is and you can follow her on Twitter @citaggart.

Product Details ISBN: 9781789295146
ISBN-10: 1789295149
Publisher: Michael O'Mara
Publication Date: September 5th, 2023
Pages: 192
Language: English