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.
This illustrated guide compiles over 2,000 collective nouns and brings them to life in stunningly colorful, graphic artwork from the design dynamos at Woop Studios. Chock-full of treasures of the English language, the diversity of terms collected here covers topics from plants and animals (a parade of elephants, an embarrassment of pandas) to people and things (a pomposity of professors, an exultation of fireworks) and range from the familiar (a pride of lions) to the downright obscure (an ooze of amoebas). Pronunciations, definitions, etymologies, and historical anecdotes make this beautiful book an entertaining read, a standout reference, and a visual treat. Language lovers and art appreciators alike will be captivated by this gem, rich in word and image.
Where did the words bungalow and assassin derive? What did nice mean in the Middle Ages? How were adder, anger, and umpire originally spelled? The answers can be found in this essential companion to any popular dictionary.
With over 17,000 entries, this is the most authoritative and comprehensive guide to word origins available in paperback. Based on The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, the principal authority on the origin and development of English words, it contains a wealth of information about our language and its history. For example, readers will learn that bungalow originally meant "belonging to Bengal," that assassin comes from the Arabic for "Hashish-eater," and that nice meant "foolish or stupid" in the thirteenth century, "coy or shy" in the fifteenth. And adder, anger, and umpire were originally spelled with an initial "n." These are but a few of the fascinating tidbits found in this dictionary, which is a must for anyone interested in the richness of the English language.
Originally published as two distinct collections, Depraved and Insulting English brings to light the language's most offensive and obscene words--words that have fallen out of today's lexicon but will no doubt delight, amuse, and in some cases prove surprisingly useful. Who hasn't searched for the right word to describe a colleague's maschalephidrosis (runaway armpit perspiration) or a boss's pleonexia (insane greed)? And what better way is there to insult the scombroid landlord (resembling a mackerel) or that tumbrel of a brother-in-law (a person who is drunk to the point of vomiting) than by calling him by his rightful name?A compact compendium of ingenious words for anyone who's been tongue-tied, flabbergasted, or dumbfounded, Depraved and Insulting English supplies the appropriate vocabulary for any occasion. Word lovers, chronic insulters, berayers, bescumbers, and bespewers need fear no more--finding the correct word to wow your friends or silence your enemies just got a whole lot easier.
This re-issue of Julian Franklyn's classic dictionary not only defines these expressions but also explains their origin and history. An introductory essay examines the roots and development of rhyming slang. Although many people assume that rhyming slang is exclusively Cockney, Franklyn illustrates how it is common to Australian and Americn dialects.
From the unlikely to the bizarre, the 1,500 entries both entertain and enlighten. Cartoons enliven a reference section which combines linguistic detail and cultural analysis. Whether reading the dictionary from cover to cover, or dipping into it as a reference tool, linguists and students of popular culture will find it the definitive source of information on rhyming slang.
Studies the linguistic gap between American and British English, discussing variations in spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary, as well as expressions that have vastly different meanings from one country to another.
Is the growing influence of Spanish threatening to displace English in the United States? Are America's grammatical standards in serious decline? Has the media saturation of our culture homogenized our speech?These and other questions catapulted Robert MacNeil and William Cran, coauthors of the language classic The Story of English, on a journey that took them around the country in search of answers. Do You Speak American?, the companion volume to a PBS special, is the tale of the surprising discoveries they made while interviewing a host of native speakers and observing everyday verbal interactions across the country. Examining the histories and controversies surrounding both written and spoken American English, MacNeil and Cran address highly emotional anxieties and assumptions about our language-and offer some unpredictable responses. With insight and wit, MacNeil and Cran bring us a compelling follow-up to The Story of English that is at once a celebration and a potent study of our singular language.
In the English language, swearing is essential to effective communication. In this hilarious and illuminating guide, you will learn just how to do it - no f*cking problem.
Whether you want to succeed in business, school, or social circles, a strong command of vocabulary is absolutely necessary. Just imagine a stranger to our shores, trying to comprehend the following conversation:
John: Mary, would you like to attend the opera this evening?
Mary: F*cking-A. should I wear my black dress?
John: Why the f*ck not?
Mary: F*cked if I know-Oh, f*ck I just remembered. It got f*cked up in the wash.
John: Well, f*ck the opera. Let's stay home and f*ck.
Mary: Good f*cking idea.
English as a Second F*cking Language (ESF*L) is the perfect way for nonnative speakers to learn the basics of swearing. At the same time, it also offers native speakers a wide variety of twists and new refinements. Page after page, ESF*L provides a smorgasbord of swearing synonyms designed to boost your vocabulary-everything from the conventional d*mn and sh*t to a host of more inventive terms that would make any truck driver blush. And when you're finished reading, our Final F*cking Exam is the perfect test of your swearing skills. You'll be surprised by how much you've learned
"Great f*cking book " --Stephen King