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The Damp Squid Quiz

Those of you who are, like me, blog-o-holics, will no doubt have seen some of the coverage for our book  Damp Squid, by Jeremy Butterfield. The blogs picked up on the 10 most annoying words and phrases in the English language, but that’s not all that’s in the book. Jeremy Butterfield also examines phrases that have been slightly distorted over the years, so that what we say is often not what was originally meant.

So today I’m bringing a fun little quiz to see how much you know about the origins of phrases we say every day.

Can you spot the original version of these well-known phrases?

just desserts OR just deserts
straight-laced OR strait-laced
minuscule OR miniscule
free reign OR free rein
with baited breath OR with bated breath
preying mantis OR praying mantis
fell swoop OR fowl swoop
hammer and thongs OR hammer and tongs
no love loss OR no love lost

Check back tomorrow for full answers and explanations!

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Recent Comments

  1. [...] blog have written in, having noticed the furor on our own boards about most-hated-phrases, and note their own post, which explains that there’s more to the book than a list of hated phrases, and offers a quiz on the evolution of certain well-known sayings. Those of you who are, like me, [...]

  2. [...] Yesterday I gave you a fun little quiz about the original forms of commonly-used phrases. How many did you guess correctly? The answers are below, along with an extract from the book – Damp Squid by Jeremy Butterfield – which explains what happens with some of these changes in the English language. [...]

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