Monday, December 19, 2005


Boning Up

The Maverick Philosopher quotes Robert Hendrickson, Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, 2nd edition (New York: Facts on File, 2004), p. 91, on the origin of the phrase bone up on:
It was first used in the 1860s by collegians, and they apparently first spelled the bone in the phrase Bohn, probably referring to the Bohn translations of the classics, or "trots," that they used in studying. British scholar Henry George Bohn (1796-1884) was the author and publisher of many books, including the "Classical Library."
This is one of a number of inaccuracies in Hendrickson's book. The Oxford English Dictionary (not available to me) apparently cites an example of the phrase from 1841. Bohn's Classical Library series did not start until 1848. Derek Jones, Henry George Bohn: A Biographical Note, exposes Hendrickson's error.

Other posts from this blog on Hendrickson's errors:

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?