Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Say what?

I like to look things up. You need to know this about me.

I have two dictionaries, three style guides (well, sort of two, but really three), a literature handbook, a research handbook, a writing handbook, a copyeditor's handbook, and I still own and use a set of encyclopedias. And that’s not even counting the myriad websites I use to look stuff up: google, wikipedia, imdb, etc. (Fun fact: the correct wording is NOT "the myriad of websites." I read "myriad of" somewhere this week and Inner Editor sighed and shook her head. So go forth and use "myriad" correctly. Don't believe me? Look it up.)

I come across words I don’t know, I look ‘em up. Recently my boss sent out an email apologizing for errata. Great word. I looked it up. You should too.
I see an actor/actress that I think I’ve seen in another movie, I look ‘em up. Recently we caught part of “Road House” with Patrick Swayze (or is it “Roadhouse?” I should look it up.) In this movie there was a guy that I thought had been in an episode of The Sopranos, so I looked it up. It wasn’t him.
And for a long time, I’ve been wishing and dreaming and sighing for a website that would tell me the origin of phrases. And I think I may have found one—wisegeek.com. Problem is, as soon as I found this website, I couldn’t think of a single phrase whose origin I want to know. If you’d’ve asked me yesterday I probably could’ve rattled off five. (Fun fact: The correct phrase is "should've" NOT "should of." Makes me cringe every time.) But today? Nope, not a single phrase comes to mind.
Actually, that’s not true. ("I cannot tell a lie!" But, see, I know the origin of that one!) I thought of “Kill two birds with one stone” and “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” What’s up with the bird stuff, you ask? It’s leftover from A Fairy Tale (With No Fairies). You should read it.
But that’s beside the point. I need more phrases. I need to know if wisegeek.com is the answer to my informational longings. I need to know if, the next time I use or hear a familiar saying and wonder how it originated, wisegeek will be my fount of knowledge and happiness. So help me out, people. What’s a saying that you use that, when you stop to think about it, must have an interesting, obscure origin? Let’s test wisegeek out.


Chris said...

Hmmm....I wonder how you got in the habit of looking things up...
I can't think of a phrase right now, but will try to remember to let you know when I do.
By the way, though fount works in your last paragraph, I prefer font.
Look it up!


sandy said...

You might find this interesting; I learned a lot about a few choice phraes. http://slimdave420.blogspot.com/2007/01/interesting-old-sayings-origins.html

Angela said...

"Six of one, half a dozen of the other." My new boss hates that one, and I say it all the time. Oops.