Etymology and Slang
American Slang Dictionary, Fourth Edition
American Slang Dictionary, Fourth Edition
4th Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0071461086

For the 411 on American slang, this guidebook is the top banana

From "head trip" to "foot in mouth," American Slang Dictionary gives you the complete definitions of thousands of uniquely American words and phrases, ranging from golden oldies such as "catch some rays" and "take the fifth" to more up-to-the-minute coinages like Wall Street's "jonx," the Internet's "ping," and the gangsta's favorite, "shizzle."

Inside you'll find more than 12,000 words and expressions from a wide variety of sources, including gangsta rap, the blogosphere, and the U.S. prison system. In a New York minute, you'll be down with the colloquialisms, vulgarities, and substandard English that make everyday interactions in contemporary American life so colorful.

BSOD or blue screen of death the blue computer screen that appears after a programming or operational error
crunk wild; crazy; out of control
kvetch to complain
left-handed monkey wrench a nonexistent tool
word of mouse a message spread by e-mail

American Slang, 4th Edition
American Slang, 4th Edition
Paperback      ISBN: 0061179477

With 1,500 new words and phrases, this abridged edition of the Dictionary of American Slang is the most buzzworthy, banging collection of colloquial American English--no joke

This fully updated and abridged fourth edition of American Slang contains more than 1,500 new terms representing the variety and vigor of American slang, from yada yada yada to yo momma. There's no better resource for those who are curious about language, fascinated by counterculture, or just completely confused when other people talk.

Like previous editions, this edition features pronunciation guides, word origins, examples of appropriate usage as well as a helpful highlighting system that lets you know which terms should be used with caution, and never in polite company. Both an important archive of the way America is really talking and a lot of fun to read, American Slang will prove to be an invaluable companion in keeping up with the dauntingly jargon-filled, quickly evolving language of today.

The Anatomy of Swearing
The Anatomy of Swearing
Hardcover      ISBN: 281AKJ1021531
An Asperger Dictionary of Everyday Expressions
An Asperger Dictionary of Everyday Expressions
2nd Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 1843105187

This revised and expanded edition adds over 300 new expressions that help unlock the meaning of everyday expressions.

Both informative and entertaining, the book addresses an important aspect of social communication for people with Asperger Syndrome, who use direct, precise language and take things literally'. This dictionary aims to dispel any confusion that arises from the misinterpretation of language. It provides explanations of over 5000 idiomatic expressions and a useful guide to their politeness level. Each expression is accompanied by a clear explanation of its meaning and when and how it might be used. The expressions are taken from British and American English, with some Australian expressions included as well.

Although the book is primarily intended for people with Asperger Syndrome, it will be useful for anyone who has problems understanding idiomatic and colloquial English. An essential resource and an informative read; this dictionary will assist in a wide range of situations.

Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology
Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0062700847

As all lovers of language know, words are the source of our very understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Often, however, our use of language is so automatic that we neglect to consider where those words came from and what they assume. What are the implications, beyond the simple dictionary definitions, of using words such as privilege, hysteria, seminal, and gyp?

Browsing through the pages of The Barhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology is like exploring the historical, political, and rhetorical wonderland of our linguistic heritage. We see the evolution of ideas, as rootword connections that now seem arbitrary are traced to schools of thought from the past. We also find an opportunity to examine how the sometimes backwards, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes illuminating ideologies built into our language affect our modern thinking.

Written in a fresh, accessible style, this book provides the derivations of over 21,000 English-language words without resorting to the use of abbreviations, symbols, or technical terminology. Drawing on the most current American scholarship, and focusing onthe core words in contemporary English, The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology is both a diverting browse and a thinking person's Bible.

The Big Black Book of Very Dirty Words
The Big Black Book of Very Dirty Words
Paperback      ISBN: 1440506256
Airplane Blonde. Intercorpse. Prostitot. Queef. Rainbow Kiss.

There's a big world of obscenity out there--and you'll explore every profane nook and cranny in this compilation. We're talking about more than 2,000 insults, obscenities, and vulgarities raw enough to make even the most unflappable linguist blush.

Forget grammar school swearing; this is advanced cursing for the most discerning dirty mouths From the colorful--geequals, manscape, prairie dog--to the crude--giraffe, Roman shower, vagitarian, this big-ass book of bad language will have you dissing douchebags with doolally style in just a friggin' minute
Black Sheep and Lame Ducks: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day
Black Sheep and Lame Ducks
The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0399535128
The fun and fascinating follow-up to the international bestseller Red Herrings and White Elephants

Why do people put their "skeletons in a closet," "have a hunch," "get the cold shoulder," "get dressed up to the nines," or "call a spade a spade?" These phrases are used every day, yet most people have little or no idea where most of them come from. In Black Sheep and Lame Ducks, Albert Jack takes readers on a journey through the curious- and often bizarre-origins of hundreds of their favorite idioms and expressions.

For example, "wearing your heart on your sleeve" comes from the Middle Ages, when a lady would "give her heart" in the form of a handkerchief pinned to the sleeve of a knight who was about to go into battle. And calling someone the "black sheep in the family" refers to a thousands- year-old belief that a black lamb in a flock was unpopular because its fleece was undyeable and therefore less valuable.

With Black Sheep and Lame Ducks, any language-lover can feel like a "Smart Aleck"-and also know exactly who that was.
Carnal Knowledge: A Navel Gazer's Dictionary of Anatomy, Etymology, and Trivia
Carnal Knowledge
A Navel Gazer's Dictionary of Anatomy, Etymology, and Trivia
Paperback      ISBN: 0312371217

From head to toe to breast to behind, Charles Hodgson's Carnal Knowledge is a delightfully intoxicating tour of the words we use to describe our bodies. Did you know:

-eye is one of the oldest written words in the English language?
-callipygian means "having beautiful buttocks"?
-gam, a slang word for "leg," comes from the French word jambe?

A treat for anyone who gets a kick out of words, Carnal Knowledge is also the perfect gift for anyone interested in the human body and the many (many, many) ways it's been described.

Chambers Dictionary of Etymology
Chambers Dictionary of Etymology
Hardcover      ISBN: 0550142304

With over 30,000 entries, Chambers Dictionary of Etymology is a prestigious and scholarly dictionary that explains where English words come from. An important etymological resource for the expert, it is also a useful reference source for the general reader.

The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech
The City in Slang
New York Life and Popular Speech
Paperback      ISBN: 0195092651

The American urban scene, and in particular New York's, has given us a rich cultural legacy of slang words and phrases, a bonanza of popular speech. Hot dog, rush hour, butter-and-egg man, gold digger, shyster, buttinsky, smart aleck, sidewalk superintendent, yellow journalism, breadline, straphanger, tar beach, the Tenderloin, the Great White Way, to do a Brodie--these are just a few of the hundreds of popular words and phrases that were born or took on new meaning in the streets of New York.
In The City in Slang, Irving Lewis Allen traces this flowering of popular expressions that accompanied the emergence of the New York metropolis from the early nineteenth century down to the present. This unique account of the cultural and social history of America's greatest city provides in effect a lexicon of popular speech about city life. With many stories Allen shows how this vocabulary arose from city streets, often interplaying with vaudeville, radio, movies, comics, and the popular songs of Tin Pan Alley.
Some terms of great pertinence to city people today have unexpectedly old pedigrees. Rush hour was coined by 1890, for instance, and rubberneck dates to the late 1890s and became popular in New York to describe the busloads of tourists who craned their necks to see the tall buildings and the sights of the Bowery and Chinatown. The Big Apple itself (since 1971 the official nickname of New York) appeared in the 1920s, though first in reference to the city's top racetracks and to Broadway bookings as pinnacles of professional endeavor. Allen also tells fascinating stories behind once-popular slang that is no longer in use. Spielers, for example, were the little girls in tenement districts who danced ecstatically on the sidewalks to the music of the hurdy-gurdy men and, when they were old enough, frequented the dance halls of the Lower East Side.
Following the trail of these words and phrases into the city's East Side, West Side, and all around the town, from Harlem to Wall Street, and into the haunts of its high and low life, The City in Slang is a fascinating look at the rich cultural heritage of language about city life.