University of Minnesota Press

Are you feeling merry as a grig? Or merry as a pismire? Pert as a pearmonger? Fit as a fiddle? Where do these idioms come from? Do they make life more fun? If you’ve ever wanted to be in a room full of expert etymologists, this is your ticket. Anatoly Liberman, author of TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: A Dictionary of English Idioms, is joined in conversation by Ari Hoptman and J. Lawrence (Larry) Mitchell. After listening, you will be informed, you will be enthralled, and most importantly, you will never sign off on another letter or e-mail with “All best” again. We are not talking through our hats here. 

That’s the cheese!

Episode references:
Notes & Queries, a long-running quarterly scholarly journal est. 1849
James H. Murray, primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary
Theodore Francis (T. F.) Powys
Virginia Woolf
God’s Acre (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Walter W. Skeat (the author of still the most authoritative English etymological dictionary)

What is University of Minnesota Press?

Authors join peers, scholars, and friends in conversation. Topics include environment, humanities, race, social justice, cultural studies, art, literature and literary criticism, media studies, sociology, anthropology, grief and loss, mental health, and more.