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Nonfiction in Brief

IDIOM'S DELIGHT Fascinating Phrases and Linguistic Eccentricities by Suzanne Brock (Times Books: $13.95)

December 18, 1988|ALEX RAKSIN

"Go fly a kite!" an angry American might exclaim, while the Spaniard would counter, "Go fry asparagus!" (Spaniards "swear better than we do," Suzanne Brock acknowledges). The French, preoccupied with food and drink, dream of "days of cherries" and "get buttered" after a night on the town, while Americans remember "the good old days" and "get plastered." Brock also comments on Italian and Latin expressions in this whimsical compendium and telling study of subtle distinctions in cultural character.

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