Cliches and expressions give us many wonderful figures of speech and words in the English language, as they evolve via use and mis-use alike.Many cliches and expressions - and words - have fascinating and surprising origins, and many popular assumptions about meanings and derivations are mistaken.

If you have corrections or further details about the words, cliches, expressions origins and derivations on this page, please send them.

If you are trying to find origins or derivations for words, expressions, phrases, clich├ęs, etc., that are not listed here, then please use the research sources suggested below before you contact me.

I'm not able to answer all such enquiries personally although selected ones will be published on this page.

The close relationship between society and language - especially the influence of French words in English history - is also fascinating, and this connection features in many words and expressions origins.

The lingua franca entry also helps explain this, and the organic nature of language change and development.

These derivations have been researched from a wide variety of sources, which are referenced at the end of this section.

These reference sources contain thousands more cliches, expressions, origins and meanings.

Some expressions with two key words are listed under each word.

A commonly ignored reference source for many words and expressions origins - especially for common cliches that are not listed in slang and expressions dictionaries - is simply to use an ordinary decent English dictionary (Oxford English Dictionary or Websters, etc), which will provide origins for most words and many related phrases (see the 'strong relief' example below).