Read “Lederer on Language” every Saturday in the San Diego Union Tribune and on this site.
Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Goodness gracious and good grief ! Leapin’ lizards and jumpin’ Jehosephat! I am an alliteration addict, a slave to the super-sized seductions of sequential syllables starting with the same sound. To tell the truth, the fickle finger of fate has made me the most alliterate fellow you’ll ever meet. So let’s rock and roll and get ready to rumble.

First and foremost, our bright-eyed- and-bushy-tailed, busy-as-a-bee and- a-beaver, bread-and-butter, bigger-and-better, best-and-the-brightest, blockbuster English language contains a tip-top, top-tier treasure trove of worthwhile, tried-and-true, larger-than-life, cream-of-the-crop, fit-as-a-fiddle, hale-and-hearty, picture-perfect, no-nonsense, rough-and-ready, rip-roaring, death-defying, fast-and-furious (not dead as a doornail), whole-hog, mile-a-minute, wild-and-wooly, star-studded, show-stopping, talk-and-toast-of-the-town, rootin’-tootin’ laundry list of alliterative expressions— the more the merrier.

I’m not a penny pincher who’s a day late and a dollar short. All my examples will be good as gold and worth a pretty penny(not penny wise and pound foolish), a chunk of change (not chump change) and big bucks in cold cash, a lot of bang for the buck, and certainly nota dime a dozen. You can bet your bottom dollar, dollars to donuts, that I’ll put my money where my mouth is.

In wending my way slowly but surely down the criss-crossing, zigzagging primrose path through the whys and wherefores of alliteration, I shall not shilly-shally, dilly-dally, hem and haw, cut corners, beat around the bush, wear out my welcome, pull any punches or leave you in the lurch. Hey, I’m nota bird-brained dead duck on his last legs; a dry-as-dust, dull-as-dishwater, primand- proper, ho-hum, no-name, down-in-the-dumps worry-wart; a flip-flopping, lily-livered, knock-kneed, mild-mannered, mealy-mouthed, daydreaming, tattle-tailing, tongue-tied, tiptoeing, half-hearted, wishy-washy Nelly; or a backbiting, too-big-for-his-britches, bottom-of-the-barrel, hard-headed, rabble-rousing, party-pooping spoilsport.

Pretty please, don’t call the cops, raise the roof, read me the riot act, fan the flames of your pet peeves, browbeat me, make mincemeat out of me, clean my clock, give me grief or short shrift, get a bee in your bonnet, throw a temper tantrum, steal the spotlight and take me to task for being a world-weary, shellshocked sad sack; a lowlife piece of riffraff beating his breast and caught seasick betwixt the devil and the deep blue sea; a topsy-turvy ding-dong from the funny farm leaping from the frying pan into the fire on the slippery slope to rack and ruin; a ranting-and-raving crazy coot who’s mad as a March hare and blind as a bat with bats in his belfry; a tattle-tailing, four-flushing, flimflamming motor mouth who’s out to get your goat, drive you to drink, leave you worse for wear, run you ragged and, to add fuel to the fire and insult to injury, send you to hell in a hand basket; or a flimflammer out to make a monkey out of you with a far-fetched mishmash of copycat, cookie-cutter, ticky-tacky fiddle faddle that contains neither rhyme nor reason, just a bunch of copycat, cookie-cutter, ticky-tacky, man-in-the-moon chit chat, fiddle faddle. pitter patter and jibber jabber that you need like a hole in the head.

Like it or lump it, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill or stir up a tempest in a teapot! Mind your manners! Look before you leap! Get a grip! Go back to basics! Have a heart! Hold your horses! Forgive and forget! Don’t read me the riot act! Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! To turn the tables tit for tat, lay down the law and go for the gusto and the gold, I take the proof positive off the back burner, put the fat in the fire, bring home the bacon, talk turkey, beat the bushes and leave you with the last laugh in the lap of luxury.

You can bet your bippy that, vis-a-vis alliteration, it’s a done deal and the case is closed. So, last but not least and now or never, before I call it quits, hit the hay, head for the hills, burn my bridges behind me, give up the ghost and bid you a fond farewell, I’ve tried to give it a go with get up and go; come clean with the courage of my convictions; to lay it in the line to beat the band; to leave you pleased as punch and jumping for joy head over heels and waiting with bated breath; and to shape up or ship out, sink or swim, come hell or highwater, feast or famine, with vim and vigor, might and mane, do-or-die derring do, stem to stern, pillar to post, rags to riches, bag and baggage, part and parcel and kit and caboodle.