Select one of the keywords
Dictionary of Contemporary Slang: Third Edition    by Tony Thorne order for
Dictionary of Contemporary Slang
by Tony Thorne
Order:  USA  Can
A & C Black, 2007 (2005)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ever encounter an unknown bit of slang in a book, or overhear people talking in a movie line and wonder what they were on about? If you want to brush up on your multicultural lingo, then get hold of a copy of the Dictionary of Contemporary Slang. Though it's impossible to keep totally up to date with the nuances of a living and evolving language, you'll find a lot of answers here.

In his Introduction to Slang in the 21st Century, Thorne talks about the clandestine nature of slang, which 'is language deliberately selected for its striking informality.' But he also tells us that, in Britain in particular, 'perceived boundaries between 'standard' and 'unorthodox' are becoming increasingly 'fuzzy'.' The author also talks about the impact of technology and cyberslang. Each entry in the dictionary that follows includes variants, part of speech, region (e.g. American, British or Australian), meanings and origin.

Many terms are in common usage - like apple-polisher, loose cannon, couch potato, tree-hugger, or get a life. The meaning of others is often obvious - as in 'a few fries short of a happy meal' or digerati (digitally literate). Many can be deduced, like chimney-wok (satellite dish), himbo (male bimbo), or weasel words (insincere talk). But then there are terms like banjaxed (overwhelmed), rhubarb (empty talk) or 'come the raw prawn' (Aussie for try to deceive). And how did Kipling become a term of approval among Brit schoolchildren?

Flipping through this Dictionary of Contemporary Slang is fun but too much at one time might leave you feeling discombobulated.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews