Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/51

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Errors in English

big-wig: A slang term common in England for a person in authority or of prominence. Compare big-bug.

bird: In the phrase "You're a bird" an inane and, therefore, undesirable expression.

bit: Primarily a bite, a small piece, or by extension a small quantity; as, a bit of bread, a bit of fun. By error, the word is sometimes applied to liquids; as, "there is not a bit of water on the farm." But when reference is to liquid to be drunk, it is more discriminating to say, not a bit, but a sip.

blame on: Indefensible slang. We blame a person for a fault, or lay the blame upon him. Not, as in a New York newspaper, after the last Presidential election, "I do not blame the defeat on the President," but "I do not blame the President for the defeat," or "I do not lay the blame, . . upon," etc.

blow: A colloquialism for boastful talk, which is expressed less coarsely but with as much force by "bluster" or "brag."

blowhard: A coarse term for "boaster" synonymous with windbag; not used by persons of refinement. Compare windbag.

boiled shirt: A slang phrase designating a white linen shirt. It originated in the Western States of America but its use is widespread among persons addicted to careless diction.