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Dictionary of Contemporary Slang [Paperback]

by Tony Thorne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

November 12, 1991 0679737065 978-0679737063 1st American ed
From A to Z:

Aim archie at the armitage brownie hound cassava dingleberries el ropo four-by-two get Chinese have the painters in idiot dancing jam sandwich kangaroo it lip service meathooks necktie party Ozzie and Harriet pearl diver quiche out rough end of the pineapple surfboard tray-bits under velcrohead write one's name on the lawn x-rated yodel in the canyon zippersniffer.

There is a linguistic riot going on the English-speaking world over, in the form of energetic, informal speech, extraordinary for its wit, quirkiness, and biting satire. The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, the most comprehensive guide to slang, gathers more than 5,000 colloquialisms, puns, similes, metaphors, and double entendres -- from sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll; to fads, fashion, and cults; to taboos, obscenities, and euphemisms -- that have enriched our language for the past forty years. Most entries have multiple definitions that are enlivened by examples of usage.

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Rife with ribaldry, with an amusing contrast between tart words and cool, analytical definitions, this book may mobilize the censors. A typical entry has variant spelling or wording, geographical range, meanings, and comments--often guesswork--on tone, nuance, associations, social context, history, derivation, and related words. Pronunciation is sometimes left unclear. A few slang styles, such as backslang and pig Latin, are noted. Published as the Bloomsbury Dictionary of Contemporary Slang in Britain , this work covers Britain, the United States, and Australia well, other English-speaking areas lightly. The author, a lexicographer, draws from the media and personal observation of such users of slang as hippies and Valley Girls. Recommended more as a fun reflection of speech in recent decades than as definitive scholarship.
- William A. Donovan, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"As up-to-date a dictionary of 'strikingly informal' contemporary language as you are likely to find." "Thorne is a kind of slang detective, going down the streets where other lexicographers fear to tread." Daily Telegraph --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 583 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st American ed edition (November 12, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679737065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679737063
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,393,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5.0 out of 5 stars Good to Consult March 10, 2012
By Ohioan
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This dictionary's main concern is current-day slang, chiefly British and then American. Many of the definitions tell when a phrase came into being and also when it ceased being popular as, say, a phrase that was last used in the 1950s. Not many slang dictionaries tell when a phrase fell out of popularity, yet this is a valuable piece of information. In many cases the British use of a slang is compared to the American use: again, a valuable distinction. While I prefer using the slang dictionaries that concentrate on American slang, I wouldn't be without this one: slang jumps from one continent to another with wild abandon, so it's good to know the differences in meaning between one culture's use of a slang phrase and another culture's use of that same phrase.
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