Who Said That First? The Curious Origins of Common Words and Phrases

Author(s): Max Cryer

Writing & Reading

Many bright minds have come up with expressions we now take for granted as part of the English language, and which we use freely in vernacular speech. But the originators of many of our most useful second-hand remarks go uncredited. The Bible and Shakespeare are rich sources of many common phrases, but in this book Max Cryer concentrates on familiar expressions whose origins lie elsewhere. So who said it first? This collection sets out to credit - as far as it's possible to do so - the people who actually created many familiar terms in common use. For example, poor Ernest Dowson is all but forgotten, but author Margaret Mitchell read his 1891 poem 'Non Sum Qualis' and brought one phrase from that poem to the attention of millions. The phrase that caught her eye was 'gone with the wind'. (In 1867, Dowson also wrote another familiar phrase: 'the days of wine and roses'). Written in Max Cryer's delightfully witty style, Who Said That First? is a wonderful book to dip into or settle a friendly dispute.


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Max Cryer is a writer, entertainer and broadcaster, who hosts a weekly radio slot on quirks of the English language. In a long career, he has been a schoolteacher, a compere and television host, as well as a performer on the opera stage in London and in cabaret in Las Vegas and Hollywood. Now a full-time writer living in Auckland, he has written many books, including Love Me Tender, The Godzone Dictionary and Hear Our Voices, We Entreat.

General Fields

  • : 9780908988914
  • : Exisle Publishing Pty Limited
  • : Exisle Publishing (New Zealand)
  • : March 2010
  • : New Zealand
  • : October 2010
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Max Cryer
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : English
  • : 082
  • : 320