Before the invention of paper one of the substances employed
for writing was the leaves of certain plants. In the British Museum are
some writings on leaves from the Malabar coast, and several copies of
the Bible written on palm-leaves. The reverse and obverse pages of a
book are still called leaves: and the double page of a ledger is termed
a “folio,” from folium (a leaf).
To take a leaf out of [my] book.
To imitate me; to do as I do. The allusion is to literary
plagiarisms. To turn over a new leaf. To amend one's ways. The
French equivalent is “Je lia ferai chanter une autre chanson.”
But in English, “To make a person sing another tune,” means to make him
eat his words, or change his note for one he will not like so well.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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