Etymology and Slang
Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story
Alphabetical
How Every Letter Tells a Story
Hardcover      ISBN: 1619024837

How on Earth did we fix upon our twenty-six letters, what do they really mean, and how did we come to write them down in the first place? Michael Rosen takes you on an unforgettable adventure through the history of the alphabet in twenty-six vivid chapters, fizzing with personal anecdotes and fascinating facts. Starting with the mysterious Phoenicians and how sounds first came to be written down, he races on to show how nonsense poems work, pins down the strange story of OK, traces our five lost letters and tackles the tyranny of spelling, among many many other things. His heroes of the alphabet range from Edward Lear to Phyllis Pearsall (the inventor of the A-Z), and from the two scribes of Beowulf to rappers. Each chapter takes on a different subject - whether it's codes, umlauts or the writing of dictionaries. Rosen's enthusiasm for letters positively leaps off the page, whether it's the story of his life told through the typewriters he's owned or a chapter on jokes written in a string of gags and word games. This is the book for anyone who's ever wondered why Hawaiian only has a thirteen-letter alphabet or how exactly to write down the sound of a wild raspberry.

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition
2nd Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0547676581

Senior moment. Think outside the box. Idioms like these can't be understood just from the words that make them up. The American Heritage(R) Dictionary of Idioms explores the meanings of idioms, including phrasal verbs such as kick back, proverbs such as too many cooks spoil the broth, interjections such as tough beans, and figures of speech such as elephant in the room. Since the publication of the first edition 15 years ago, author Christine Ammer has made extensive revisions that reflect new historical scholarship and changes in the English language. This second edition defines over 10,000 idiomatic expressions in greater detail than any other dictionary available today. English language learners will find this dictionary especially useful.

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.

Around the World in 80 Words: A Journey Through the English Language
Around the World in 80 Words
A Journey Through the English Language
Paperback      ISBN: 022668279x

What makes a place so memorable that it survives forever in a word? In this captivating round-the-world tour, Paul Anthony Jones acts as your guide through the intriguing stories of how eighty places became immortalized in the English language. You'll discover why the origins of turkeys, limericks, Brazil nuts, and Panama hats aren't quite as straightforward as you might presume. If you've never heard of the tiny Czech mining town of Jáchymov--or Joachimsthal, as it was known until the late 1800s--you're not alone, which makes its claim to fame as the origin of the word "dollar" all the more extraordinary. The story of how the Great Dane isn't all that Danish makes the list, as does the Jordanian mountain whose name has become a byword for a tantalizing glimpse. We'll also find out what the Philippines has given to your office inbox, what Alaska has given to your liquor cabinet, and how a speech given by a bumbling North Carolinian gave us a word for impenetrable nonsense.

Surprising, entertaining, and illuminating, this is essential reading for armchair travelers and word nerds. Our dictionaries are full of hidden histories, tales, and adventures from all over the world--if you know where to look.
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.