The Oxford dictionary of proverbs

Jennifer Speake, J. A. Simpson

Book - 2003

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REF/398.9/Oxford/2003
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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor REF/398.9/Oxford/2003 Library Use Only
Subjects
Published
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press 2003.
Edition
4th ed
Language
English
Item Description
Rev. ed. of: The concise Oxford dictionary of proverbs. 3rd ed. 1998.
Physical Description
xii, 375 p. ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. [345]-347) and index.
ISBN
0198605242
Other Authors
Jennifer Speake (-), J. A. Simpson
Review by Booklist Reviews

If it looks like a proverb and sounds like a proverb, it's a proverb--provided that people use it as they would a proverb. Thus, circulating like a computer virus in Britain and North America and ultimately finding their way into The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs are "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade"; "Garbage in, garbage out"; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" (attributed to Bert Lance); even "Different strokes for different folks" and nearly 40 other "new" proverbs. The stand-up comic Steven Wright earns a citation with a corollary to "The early bird catches the worm": "The early bird may get the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese."Each entry in this update to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (3d ed., 1998) is arranged alphabetically by the first significant word and is followed, as before, by several illustrative quotations, beginning with the proverb's first documented use in written English. Editor Speake discusses the plan of the book in a brief preface, in which she also explains that, wherever possible, examples of usage have been brought up-to-date. (From the first, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs was intended to focus on contemporary usage.) Following her preface is the introduction to the first edition (1982) by her former coeditor, John Simpson. Recommended for high-school, public, and undergraduate libraries. ((Reviewed October 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

The editor defines a proverb as a "traditional saying which offers advice or presents a moral in a short and pithy manner." The dictionary was first published as The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (CH, Jun'83), with subsequent editions in 1992 (CH, Mar'93) and 1998. This edition contains more than 1,100 proverbs in regular use over the past two centuries in Britain. Despite the British focus, coverage is actually very good for the English-speaking world in general. The proverbs are arranged alphabetically by the first important word, shown in all capital letters. Other key words are linked to proverbs by more than 1,300 cross-references. Where appropriate, explanatory notes are provided. For each proverb, its first known use in print is cited, with later examples in chronological order. Entries have been extensively updated since the previous edition to include recent uses of the proverbs. The dictionary includes a thematic index and a short bibliography of important proverb collections and works cited. Libraries that own one of the earlier editions will be adequately served, but libraries that lack the title should acquire this edition. Summing Up: Recommended. General and academic libraries. Copyright 2004 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Speake, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases and the Oxford Dictionary of Idioms, brings her experience to this new edition of a well-known classic reference. Updated and expanded (by 40 new proverbs) to include 1100 proverbs, which John Simpson defines in the introduction as "a traditional saying that offers advice or presents a moral in a short and pithy manner," this edition features a similar arrangement, with proverbs listed by their first significant word, and cross references listed from each subsequent significant word. The focus is on proverbs in common usage in Great Britain in the last 200 years, but proverbs that originated in other English-speaking regions, including the United States, are included if they are used in Britain or are prevalent in their region of origin. Each entry includes the full proverb followed by the first known usage in print in English and several other quotations up to the present. This resource does not provide as many entries as David Pickering's Cassell Dictionary of Proverbs (1997), but its entries are significantly longer. It is also comparable to the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs & Sayings (1996) but the latter is less scholarly in tone. Bottom Line Though not a replacement for Oxford's A Dictionary of American Proverbs, this is an excellent addition to libraries that have use for proverbs dictionaries. Recommended.-Rosanne M. Cordell, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Traces the history of more than eleven hundred proverbs that are still in current use, offering detailed annotations and up-to-the-minute citations from around the English-speaking world.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Many older proverbs passed into English from the Bible or from classical authors. Modern proverbs may have different origins ('garbage in, garbage out' comes from computing, while 'there's no such thing as a free lunch' comes from economics) but people still look for a vivid and concrete image to make a general point.Over 1,100 proverbs are presented here in a thoroughly reader-friendly style, without compromising the scholarly standards that have characterized earlier editions. The history and meaning of each proverb is given, together with up-to-the-minute citations from around the English-speaking world, and there is a thematic index suggesting proverbs appropriate in different situations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

This brand new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs expands its coverage to 1100 proverbs, with more detailed annotation and up-to-the-minute citations from around the English-speaking world. The text is completely accessible and comprehensive, with added paragraphs that provideilluminating examples of each proverb and its history. New proverbs have been added, ranging from modern maxims such as "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade" to those with their roots in the past, such as "Justice delayed is justice denied." A thematic index allows readers to easily find proverbs on subjects ranging from boasting to weddings.Presented in a thoroughly reader-friendly style yet maintaining the scholarly standards that have characterized earlier editions, this fourth edition is a valuable updating of a well-loved classic reference.