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Popular Fallacies - the Nonsense Nine

Popular Fallacies - Folk Etymology

People like to retell stories about the origin of some phrase or other. I get mail, phone calls, posts on Facebook.

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.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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