Clich s, maxims, idioms what are the origins of the countless sayings we repeat? Somebody somewhere said ""fly off the handle"" for the first time. In Common Phrases and Where They Come From, Myron Korach and John Mordock research the often metaphorical, often image-driven and always taken-for-granted phrases that infuse our daily speech. ""Gone haywire,"" for instance, comes from farmers baling hay using, of course, hay wire, which often tangled, broke, got wrapped around cows or somehow misbehaved. ""Feather in your cap"" can be traced to various tribal rituals; in early Hungary, it was decreed that ""none might wear a feather but he who has slain a Turk."" The phrase ""cock and bull story,"" coined by Luther's first followers in ""the aftermath of the Reformation,"" refers to papal bulls, which were stamped with an image of St. Peter and a cock. Wordsmiths everywhere will be delighted.