Sticklers, Sideburns & Bikinis

Sticklers, Sideburns & Bikinis

The Military Origins of Everyday Words and Phrases

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Did you know they started 'hearing through the grapevine' during the American Civil War? It was a reference to the telegraph lines used for communicating with the army. These looked like twisted grapevines. And why does the phrase now suggest unreliable information? Because the lines were used by enemy troops to send false battle reports.

Similarly, 'deadline' has a rather disturbing and extremely sinister origin. Again originating in the American Civil War it refers to an actual line drawn in the dirt or marked by a fence around prisoners. If the prisoners crossed this line the guards would shoot to kill.

And of course, "Cut to the quick," originally meant a sword blow that cut through the armor and into the flesh beneath.

Jam-packed with many amazing facts, Stickler's Sideburns and Bikinis is an intriguing and entertaining trip through the words and phrases that originated in the military but are now used by soldier and civilian alike. The sources of many are surprising and their original use is often far removed from how we use the word today. From 'duds' to 'freelancers' and 'morris dancing' to 'snooker' this enthralling book describes the military origins of words that we all use without thought on a dailybasis.

Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Osprey Pub., 2008.
ISBN: 9781846033001
Branch Call Number: 422 D714
Characteristics: 280 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 09, 2013

Interesting read.
Probably meant more for browsing more than reading thru A-Z. But you know what I found? Along with the usual word derivation information through a military and historical lens, the author spends no small amount of time discrediting inaccuracies and misconceptions.
A few of my favorites include Jeep (from the cartoon Popeye in the 1920's) , cold shoulder (from the 1700's hospitality courtesy), and concentration camp (19th century Cuba).
In reality the entries all have some thing to capture even the most casual reader. In other words, you don't need to be a linguist or etymologist to find something of interest here. Give it a try!


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MCPL

To Top