- Paperback: 1326 pages
- Publisher: Cassell (December 31, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0304351679
- ISBN-13: 978-0304351671
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.8 x 2.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cassell's Dictionary of Slang Paperback – December 31, 2000
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From Library Journal
This broadly entertaining resource "covers the waterfront" with "lingo" and "bits and bobs" from English-speaking countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, parts of the Caribbean, and the United States. It features 70,000 words and phrases dating from the early 16th century to the present. Typical entries include parts of speech, etymology (Yiddish, Standard English, and Old English), approximate time periods, geography, brief definitions, some usage examples, and occasional cross references. Entries such as "nudnik" (an insignificant person), "New York minute" (in an instant), "La-La Land" (Los Angeles or a fantasy world), and "beam me up, Scotty" (a desire to be elsewhere, an illicit drug mixture, or a catchphrase from the Star Trek series) will delight some readers. Although by definition slang can be vulgar and coarse, scatological, derogatory, and sexual terms seem to predominate here. This paperback edition corresponds to the previous hardback edition (LJ 5/1/99). Libraries that already own NTC's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions (LJ 6/00) or Oxford Dictionary of Slang (LJ 3/1/99) will still want to purchase this resource because of its broader coverage and affordable price.DElizabeth Connor, Medical Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Charleston
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Jonathon Green is a writer and broadcaster with a particular interest in colloquial English and slang. His many credits include the Pan Dictionary of Modern Slang and Chasing the Sun: Dictionary-Makers and the Dictionaries They Made. He lives in north London (N7).
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Top Customer Reviews
This edition dates from 1998. There's a 3 volume set out now, but this book is plenty for me. Did you ever read the dictionary as a kid? Then this book is for you. A used copy costs less than 7 bucks...a bargain!
It is true that perhaps any specific dictionary of slang such as a dictionary specialising in the slang of the underworld or Afro-American slang etc. might have a slighly larger collection of those particular terms. However, this mammoth work covers every possible area of slang. Perhaps there are far too many entries on sexual slang (and associated perverted practices etc.) than I would have liked. Yet perhaps the author thought that their exclusion could have made the work defective or lacking in some way. Indeed, it is unfortunate that the connotations of the word 'slang' have changed so that now 'slang' no longer means just colloquial jargon but the obscene tongue. This dictionary is thus also a reflection of this new meaning. However, despite the profusion of dubious/unsavoury entries, the dictionary is also rich in other forms of slang such as criminal slang, rhyming slang, black American slang and post-war slang. There are also many racist slang terms, many of which were first presented in the author's interesting work "Words Apart: The Language of Prejudice" (1996) in which he compiled an immense list of ethnic insults and nicknames. Not only has he incorporated most of these in this great dictionary but he has also added many more similar phrases. For instance, the word 'French', which is often used in conjunction with phrases that pertain to some form of sexual deviance, appears in a wide vairiety of other expressions too: Frenchwoman (i.e. fortune-teller)and French harp (harmonica), etc. The Spaniards also come in for some abuse with terms like Spanish time (unpunctuality), and Spanish waiter (potato) is an example of rhyming slang. Similarly Mexican oats means nonsense and either a Mexican jeep or a Mexican carriage is a donkey. Moreover, the word 'Dutch' (which across the Atlantic refers to someone from Holland, not Germany) is used in phrases like a Dutch nightingale (a frog). There are also several similar expressions with a host of other nationalities such as the Irish. However, for a much more extensive list of phrases with the word 'Irish'(with not only similar jocular phrases but many other expressions besides) one should read the book by Thornton B.Edwards "Irish! A Dictionary of Phrases, Terms and Epithets beginning with the word 'Irish'". His other book "Welsh Nots, Welsh Notes and Welsh Nuts" is a similar collection of phrases with the word 'Welsh' (see my reviews of both of these books here). There are many slang entries from both these books with the words 'Irish' and 'Welsh' that have not been included in Green's dictionary. Similarly Smead's excellent work 'Vocabulario Vaquero' provides several extra slang phrases with the words 'Spanish' and 'Mexican'. Yet I envisage that such missing entries from these and many other books will no doubt be incorporated in any revised supplemeted editions of this great work. Green has already included so much in this first edition. It is a materpiece as well as an invaluable contribution to (and record of) the English language. It belongs to every bookshelf.
While I respect the Californian reader's suggestion that potential buyers also consider two other slang dictionaries, I point out that Green's work goes far beyond only American usages. There's plenty here about English, New Zealand, Canadian, Australian, and other variants of English.
Nice touch: the editor's introduction comes complete with an e-mail address. Any reader who finds a usage that Jonathon Green doesn't know about, is free to send it in for future editions. But I personally find few usages that Jonathon Green doesn't know about.
Excellent work but, because of attention paid to "rude words", probably not a good gift for children.