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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.

These cliches, words and expressions origins and derivations illustrate the ever-changing complexity of language and communications, and are ideal free materials for word puzzles or quizzes, and team-building games.

Cliches and expressions are listed alphabetically according to their key word, for example, 'save your bacon' is listed under 'b' for bacon.

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).

The money slang section contains money slang and word origins and meanings, and English money history.

The portmanteau words entry is a particularly interesting example of one of the very many different ways in which language evolves.

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.

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