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American Slang by Robert L. Chapman
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American Slang (edition 1994)

by Robert L. Chapman (Author)

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417346,237 (3.81)1
We all know language changes rapidly, but to follow along requires an historical view. Chapman's Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition, provides just what is needed to trace the language of today back to its American roots. And make no mistake--this is a dictionary that is purely American, the place where you can trace the development of the American language, in it's highly informal format known as "slang." Some would ask: "isn't the language changing so fast that this book is out of date the day on which it is published?" Although it is true that changes to the language, particularly slang, happen faster and faster in the electronic age, still there is a place for an authoritative, recognized work that keeps track of and compiles the language into an historical document, as this dictionary does. It is true that language changes very quickly; it is just as true that today's slang may be forgotten tomorrow. In recording the changing language, and sorting out what's here to stay from what's coming and quickly going, the Dictionary of American Slang serves a useful and important purpose.… (more)
Member:Jrathbone9
Title:American Slang
Authors:Robert L. Chapman (Author)
Info:HarperCollins Publishers Australia (1994), 528 pagesReprint
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American Slang by Robert L. Chapman

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Overall I find the book unsatisfying, even though it's fun to browse. For example, it doesn't have "coon's age", a term I've always wondered about--is the coon an animal or a person? Etymologies are incomplete or non-existent, some of the terms are more idiom than slang ("man-about-town"), and some are regular dictionary words (to marry, as to join or bring together).

All of these nit-picks may mean I should shell out for the unabridged edition, but I think a better job could have been done on the abridgment. ( )
  IreneF | Nov 6, 2008 |
This was a present from my dear American pal to counteract my plague of questions.

I read it now, to look up 'kudos' but it's not there! It is however, in the OED!

Never look a gift horse in the mouth = neigh!
  mcewen | Aug 4, 2008 |
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We all know language changes rapidly, but to follow along requires an historical view. Chapman's Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition, provides just what is needed to trace the language of today back to its American roots. And make no mistake--this is a dictionary that is purely American, the place where you can trace the development of the American language, in it's highly informal format known as "slang." Some would ask: "isn't the language changing so fast that this book is out of date the day on which it is published?" Although it is true that changes to the language, particularly slang, happen faster and faster in the electronic age, still there is a place for an authoritative, recognized work that keeps track of and compiles the language into an historical document, as this dictionary does. It is true that language changes very quickly; it is just as true that today's slang may be forgotten tomorrow. In recording the changing language, and sorting out what's here to stay from what's coming and quickly going, the Dictionary of American Slang serves a useful and important purpose.

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