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Usage and Abusage (Penguin Reference Books)
ISBN 0140514422 / 9780140514421 / 0-14-051442-2
Publisher Penguin UK
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Eric Partridge was a master of linguistic scholarship. Author of A Dictionary of Cliches, Shakespeare's Bawdy, and many others, Partridge's Usage and Abusage, first out in 1942, was last updated by him in 1973, six years before his death. But life and language tick on, even without Partridge. Now, Janet Whitcut has revised his classic to keep up with the 1990s. One is reminded that "ablution is now intolerably pedantic" for "hand washing," that errata should be confined to corrections in books, and that precipitously (very steeply) should not be misused in the place of precipitately (violently hurried). The entry on punctuation runs for pages and is lucid, literate, and lively. The "Vogue Words" section is completely updated and provides today's connotations for words and phrases from academic to yuppie, rounding out a scholarly reference that maintains the Partridge standard. [via]