To get one's goat"", ""Put your best foot forward"", ""Down my alley"", ""To go haywire"" --- how often in conversation do we hear the question raised: ""I wonder how that expression came to be used?"" This gives the explanation of some six hundred phrases and words that are in common usage. They are arranged in twenty four different categories such as courtship, marriage and the family; games, sports and hunting; country life; medicine and healing. There is one section on religion and worship which is one of the least satisfactory; it covers, for the most part, words used in worship services or conversation on religion -- creed, church, pew, catholic, apostle, angel. And only a few of the more unusual words and phrases are explained -- blue Monday, to a T, gaffer, ladybird, etc. On the whole a rather good book to have at hand to answer foolish as well as intelligent questions.