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Straight from the Fridge, Dad: A Dictionary of Hipster Slang Paperback – November 6, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (November 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767908406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767908405
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Decharne's fun and appealing reference source offers words, phrases, and sentences derived from early 20th-century jazz musicians, crime figures, etc., as represented in such sources as film, pulp novels, blues, and country songs dating from the early 20th century through the mid-1960s. Often noir in tone, these colorful gems include examples illustrating the context. Although originally published in Great Britain, the book draws heavily on American slang. Decharne does not always authenticate the definitions with documentary proof, as with the entry "beat the boards," which he defines as "tapdance." Other times, an entry may include a series of sensational examples: "My solid pigeon, that drape is a killer-diller, an E-flat Dillinger, a bit of a fly thing all on one page," says a young woman complimenting a pretty dress. The book lacks editorial principles like those of the very impressive Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (Vol. 1: LJ 8/94; Vol. 2: LJ 11/15/97), which provides a pronunciation key, indicates who or what group currently uses the entry, arranges the entries alphabetically according to the primary word, and offers variant forms and cross references. Nonetheless, Decharne's book includes many entries that do not appear in Random House. Highly recommended for reference collections serving writers, historians, hipsters, and anyone who enjoys language. Michelle Foyt, Russell Lib., Middletown, CT
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Fun and appealing . . . draws heavily on American slang . . . Highly recommended for reference collections serving writers, historians, hipsters, and anyone who enjoys language."  —Library Journal


"An afternoon spent poring through a vocabulary-building guide for your inner hipster is time well spent . . . Décharné has compiled the most righteous slang from film noir, blues, country, jazz and pulp fiction; with annotations and examples galore, it's guaranteed to turn a rube into a real wild child."  —Entertainment Weekly


"There's no question that in the pages of Straight from the Fridge, Dad, everyday speech is put through some hilarious and convoluted permutations. But you don't have to take that on faith. Just cop a squat, cast your lamps on the book's leaves and dig its mellow kicks."  —Chicago Tribune


"If you are the kind of hep cat who harbours a burning urge to gas the slobs, then the righteous Max is the man. He shoots the works to fascinating and often hilarious effect."  —Esquire


"You'll surely be interested in having a new way to irritate your friends with obnoxious and obscure ways of saying 'to have sex' or to 'get drunk' (give 'burn rubber' and 'burning with a low blue flame' a whirl). Décharné has done a lot of homework here, but reading his book doesn't feel like school."  —Philadelphia Weekly News


"If you enjoy watching noir films, listening to blues or jazz, reading pulp novels or poring over certain song lyrics, this "dictionary of hipster slang", a guide to hep as it was spoken through the first half of the last century, will prove indispensable."  —Independent
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Despite this drawback, it is a great source and well worth the read.
Keja L. Beeson
He often references where he found the terms, but he doesn't tell you their historical or generational siginificance (although some are obvious.)
J. Plummer
Do not buy the Kindle versión. None of the images from the paperback are in this edition and the formatting makes it impossible to read.
harvey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Keja L. Beeson on April 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is such a fun book. The best part are the footnotes. They explain where the terms originate from (movies, novels...)I got Straight from the Fridge, because I wanted to look up "normal" words and find what the slang might be so I could jazz up the speech in a short story. However, the book is not set up that way. It is organized in alphabetical order for the slang term only. Despite this drawback, it is a great source and well worth the read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MD on October 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is available in both paperback and hard cover. My paperback is 190 pages. The primary advantage of this book over more formal (and better documented) slang dictionaries is that this publication includes slang phrases - "togged to the bricks", for example - that are bypassed by simple listings of slang words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Qfroman on March 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great reference for writers looking for great dialogue, it has a ton of obscure and well known phrases with, in some cases, references to where the phrase got popularized.

I did however find one big problem with the book. When I get a book for reference, no matter the subject, I never peruse the pages for what I need; I go to the index. This book does not have an index. Reference book fail. Also, to make using it as a reference book even worse, it organizes the words by the slang not by the word the slang replaces There are a lot of words for alcohol, but instead of finding them in one place, I have to search through the book.

Another little thing that bugged me was that the book talked about gathering slang from most of the first half of the 20th century but does not put dates of use for most of its content.

So I like it, but if another book comes along that makes the reference process easier, I'll be going with that one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Plummer VINE VOICE on August 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a "reference" guide for slang phrases used in jazz, rockabilly music, and pulp fiction/noir until about the early sixties. The phrases/terms used in the aforementioned mediums are displayed in alphabetical order, but this guide does not offer a reverse look-up; for instance, "bottle baby" means drunk but you can't look up drunk and find all the phrases/words in this book that mean drunk (and there are ALOT of phrases/words that mean drunk.) So for a reference guide, it sucks.
Also, I would've enjoyed more of an explanation on the origins of the terms/phrases. He often references where he found the terms, but he doesn't tell you their historical or generational siginificance (although some are obvious.)
Plus, this book would've gotten definite thumbs up if there were pics, but sadly, not one pic.
All in all, it's a pretty unique and interesting book to pick up.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Subtitled "A Dictionary of Hipster Slang," this is a broad overview of mostly noirish/beat slang that will be enjoyed mostly be devotees of those genres. As mentioned by another reviewer, the organization is alphabetical only (as opposed to thematic, chronological, or source), so this lacks efficiency as a resource book--it's better for browsing. On the other hand, the somewhat narrower focus makes this more a heck of a lot more fun than the big and dry "Dictionary of Modern Slang," which is more complete but, akin to reading a dictionary. The slang expression is in a greyed margin on the left; brief explanations and examples are to the right.

The book has flaws: The etymology of the slang is sparing; there are some examples of works in which it was used (but we don't know if that was the first use) for some but not all of the words. Most disappointing? Not a single picture except the book cover. To some extent, that may limit its "gift appeal," and, more importantly, and presents the words without much context. Perhaps copyright issues were at play; still, even scene-setting period photos would have evoked the slang's cultural and historical referents. There's also no index, although that's somewhat expected given the paltry organization. Given all this, the book (at around $15.00) is currently overpriced. Still, since there aren't many competitors, it has merit as browsing material (especially), and somewhat as a reference for "hipster" language.
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Format: Hardcover
Max Decharne's exhausting work on finding so many terms that became a regular part of the vocabulary in songs, films and literature stands up. If you find yourself an aficionado of film noir, old blues, early jazz and/or pulp fiction, sometimes you find yourself lost in the lingo. This book tidies up those loose ends and broadens one's language sources immensely. Who knew there were so many terms for getting drunk, being hungover, drinking..? The list goes on. Plus, it tells you where in pop culture the term originated. Anyone who puts this book down is all wet. Anyone who can dig it, I am all steamed up like a pants presser. It's a Gas!
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