THEREBY HANGS A TALE Stories of Curious Word Origins Charles Earle Funk, Litt. D. PERENNIAL LIBRARY Harper Row, Publishers New York, Cambridge, Philadelphia, San Francisco London, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney To B. M. F. Who patiently and often has listened to many of these tales, this book is lovingly dedicated. PREFACE THIS book Is the outcome of a collection of material that has been slowly accumulating over the past thirty years or so, since the time when, under the guidance of the late Dr. Frank H. Vizetelly, I began to work as his associate in the editorial department of the Funk Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary. The ancestry of most of the words that we now use glibly or find in books or other cur rent literature, is prosaic. We can trace their lines of descent back to Old English, or Old French, or Latin, or Greek, or other ancient source, but beyond the bare bones supplied by etymologists, which indicate those sources, and the steps by which they became English...

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