Few words are necessary to introduce this work to the reader. It partakesof the nature of an encyclopædia, with the saving clause that the information it sets forth is confined to a plain statement of facts. Verbal embellishments have been studiously avoided. Those who seek for additional intelligence may easily obtain it fromordinarily available sources. To account for the origin of popular phrases and names has been the author’s sole design. To the best of his knowledge, no other work of the kind exists. From the stores of his own knowledge, acquired through many years of omnivorous reading, patient inquiry, and investigation, he has been enabled to bring together anOlla podridawhich should go far towards supplying a want.
The origin of place-names is interesting in that it opens up the history of peoples and the civilisinginfluences, if so one might term it, of conquest. London street-names, in particular, convey in one word to a person of antiquarian tastes as much meaning as “a volume of forgotten lore.” As to phrases and expressions, the author has made a special study of the subject. A great many Americanisms have been included, but as the number is daily increasing it would require a monthly publication of such home-made phrases to keep fully abreast with the times. That nothing should be wanting in the way of exhaustiveness, it has been thought advisable to incorporate in the text a number of slang terms and expressions which daily assail one’s ears. To the author the compilation of this volume has been a pleasant recreation in the intervals of more exacting literary labours. If it be found to contain a plethora of good things, the reader will, of course, take them out in small doses.