Anne Soukhanov, lexicographer and executive editor of The American Heritage Dictionary
(3rd ed.), has based this book about new words invading the vernacular on her monthly column "Word Watch" in the Atlantic Monthly
. The book's meticulously organized 13 chapters are filled with food talk, sports speak, warrior words, businessese, and advertising lingo. Each chapter begins with a list of words and phrases that are then sprinkled in a fast-paced overview; later, the terms are defined individually with quoted passages demonstrating their initial use. Thus the reader can learn of softgel, address hygiene
(approved by the U.S. Postal Service), grassy knollism, Paula Jones disease
, and trawler in context and by definition and often who coined them. For example, populuxe was the idea of Thomas Hine, critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer, who combined popular, popularity, luxury, and a fancy final e to portray the feel of
the mid-1950s to mid-1960s when chrome, far-reaching tail fins, and split-level houses typified the lifestyle of postwar posterity. The way the words, anecdotes, and definitions are laid out, this book was built for browsing. Jennifer Henderson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.