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Popular Fallacies - the Nonsense Nine


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Popular Fallacies - Folk Etymology

People like to tell us that they know some phrase origin that we don't have listed. We get mail; we get phone calls; we get posts on the Discussion Forum. Some of it is informative and useful. Some of it is tosh, twaddle, claptrap - nonsense, and the reason we haven't listed their cherished 'a man in a pub told me' story is because it isn't true. It's always the same old tales -, plausible, but false.

Here are the most popular examples of folk etymology - the Nonsense Nine.

1. The whole nine yards - everyone's favourite; this has to be number one.

2. Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey


4. The full monty

5. The 'coffin quartet' - four for the price of one.

6. The real McCoy

7. Scot free

8. Golf

9. Raining cats and dogs

See other well-known misquotations.

Thanks to Bob Killian for the idea for this page, and for the graphic.