Albert Jack

Blue Moons and Black Markets

From the internationally best selling author of Red Herrings and White Elephants, Pop Goes the Weasel and What Caesar Did for my Salad.
Why do people put their “skeletons in a closet,” “have a hunch,” “get the cold shoulder,” “get dressed up to the nines,” or “call a spade a spade?” 
These phrases are used every day, yet most people have little or no idea where most of them come from. In Blue Moons and Black Markets, Albert Jack takes readers on a journey through the curious— and often bizarre-origins of hundreds of their favorite idioms and expressions. 
For example, “wearing your heart on your sleeve” comes from the Middle Ages, when a lady would “give her heart” in the form of a handkerchief pinned to the sleeve of a knight who was about to go into battle. 
And calling someone the “black sheep in the family” refers to a thousands— year-old belief that a black lamb in a flock was unpopular because its fleece was undyeable and therefore less valuable. 
With Blue Moons and Black Markets, any language-lover can feel like a “Smart Aleck” — and also know exactly who that was.
208 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
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