Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Urban Dictionary

Although it has none of the scholarly heft of J.E. Lighter's "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang" www.urbandictionary.com might be a useful supplement for identifying obscure slang and neologisms. Incidentally, Lighter's monumental work was dropped by Random House after volume 2 (H-O). The good news is that in 2003, the project was taken over by Oxford University Press, which intends to release volume 3 (P-S) this year and the remainder as volume 4 in 2008 (see http://www.oup.com/us/collections/slang/history/?view=usa) Nicholson Baker's review of the first volume ("Leading with the Grumper" New York Review of Books, August 11, 1994) is a classic and hilarious read. Although not on the internet, it's worth seeking out at your local library (or embassy IRC!), and is also republished in the Baker compilation "The Size of Thoughts: Essays and Other Lumber"

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