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The Oxford Dictionary of Slang
by John Ayto
ISBN 019863157X / 9780198631576 / 0-19-863157-X
Publisher Oxford Univ Pr
List price $35.00
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If your other reference books aren't funky enough for you, get a nickel bag of unorthodoxy with the Oxford Dictionary of Slang. This comprehensive look at informal English from around the world and across the centuries is organized thesaurus-style into sections for easy browsing by category. Look up underground terminology for drugs and sex and you'll be browsing for a month of Sundays. Of course, if you need to get the skinny on a particular term but have no idea what it could mean, there's an alphabetical index that'll take you right where you need to go. Each word or phrase is thoroughly documented, as you'd expect from an Oxford dictionary; its first print sighting, place of use, meanings, and cross-contextual references are included, as well as illuminating usage quotes. The Dictionary is easy to use and the definitions are concise--you can get the information you need quickly with time left to linger over related terms. More than 10,000 entries yield plenty of insight into commonly used but still-not-quite-kosher parts of our language. When your New Zealander buddy refers to someone as a cow-spanker, you won't have to wonder for long just who you're dealing with (don't worry, she's a dairy farmer); the Oxford Dictionary of Slang will give you the moxie to deal with a discombobulated world. --Rob Lightner [via]