Dictionaries from Yesterday

6638866I’m not the only one questioning dictionaries.  In fact, this author states that more interesting slang should be brought back into common usage:

I recently picked up a copy of the Dictionary of American Slang (1967), and I can’t put it down. Here are some of the words and phrases I’ll be awkwardly shoehorning into conversation.

If the next time you are ording breakfast and a zib at a near table disrupts your cluck and grunt, you’ll be able to continue the conversation about the butter and egg man that you ran into the night before.  With luck the zib isn’t the butter and egg man.  And neither of you will suffer from the zings.

Dictionary.com has a whole section on slang:

Keeping track of slang and colloquialisms can seem fruitless, but McGraw-Hill’s Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions can practically do the work for you. Individual entries cover words from street culture and Internet expressions, as well as older terms. Browsing these colorful and varied terms is both useful and often surprising.

Just reading through the list is fun.  It makes me realize how our current language lacks creativity, especially our swearing.  It’s boiled down to the seven words you can’t say on television or Valley girl speak.

The more I dig into this subject, the more I believe that dictionaries have a place in our world.  They might not be the ones publishers are printing today, but the ones found in thrift shops or in the back of your grandparents’ bookcase.

 

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