Sunday, 13 March 2011

Some Interesting Online Reference Sites

There are lots of interesting reference sites on the web, freely available for use. These are just a few of them.

Brewter's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
Although the hardcover version is updated and thus more extensive, it is also more expensive. The online version is based on the 1898 original but still of great use. Did you for instance know that:

  • Most phrases involving Dutch mean the opposite of what is indicated. Thus, a Dutch concert is noise, Dutch courage is not really courage and a Dutch auction is an auction where bidders decrease their bids towards the minimum price.
  • To whistle down the wind is to defame someone.
  • To nurse an omnibus is to send a bus from a rivalling before and after another bus in order to pick up its passengers.
Myth Encyclopedia While the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology is probably the best printed encyclopedia of myths and gods, this online Myth Encyclopedia does a pretty decent job on the digital arena.

The Phrase Finder
Wondering where you have got "once more unto the breach" from or who first said "at one fell swoop"? The Phrase Finder is a good place to look up phrases, idioms, sayings and expressions.

Urban Dictionary
Although it is a bit silly, the Urban Dictionary is useful for looking up slang. And funny wordplay of course. What, for instance, is Deja Moo? The feeling that you've heard this bull before...

and while on the subject of words...

The Online Etymology Dictionary
Etymology means the study of the true sense of words. It comes from Greek etymon which means "true sense" and logos which, of course, means "word". The word entered English via Old French. This, I found with a quick search in the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Sources as given

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