The Stories of Slang
Language at its Most Human
Using his database of 130,000 words and phrases, the lexicographer known as ‘Mr Slang’ explains the origins of some of the most witty, colourful and disreputable expressions in the English language. He takes us into the worlds of boxers, drunken sailors, doctors and lovers, as well as the more literary realms of PG Wodehouse and Shakespeare, that master of the double entendre who is the earliest source for nearly 300 slang terms.
Titles and Forms of Address
A Guide to Correct Use
At a time when long-established conventions in speech and correspondence are being eroded, there are still formal and social occasions when it is necessary to know and understand correct usage. This guide from the publishers of Who’s Who sets out forms of address for men and women with ranks, honours and official appointments. It includes simpler forms appropriate to email and there is guidance on replying to formal invitations and the pronunciation of tricky proper names.
Classicist Peter Jones and David Dare-Plumpton (alias Plausus, crossword compiler of The Times Listener) have concocted what could amount to an alternative Christmas – you probably won't have time for the Queen's Speech or a turkey. Their 50 'cruciverbally exquisite' Latin crosswords are arranged in five 'courses', from Facillimum to Difficillimum. The clues are in English (phew).
Skyscrapers, Hemlines and the Eddie Murphy Rule
What is the difference between Murphy’s Law and Sod’s Law? Why is the Pooh-Pooh Theory implausible? Will we fall victim to the Skyscraper Index? In chapters on everything from politics and economics to scuba diving, Philip Gooden sets out informal laws, unwritten rules and theories, and reveals their origins, the people responsible and what they mean – unless they are as inexplicable as Herblock’s Law: If it’s good, they’ll stop making it.
and Other Oxymorons
From ‘alcohol-free wine’ in the Home Comforts chapter to ‘serially monogamous’ in Uncomplicated Relationships, Simon Brett presents a collection of oxymorons – ‘the undiscovered beauties of the English Language’ – that includes the obvious (‘safe bet’), those that need a bit of explanation (victimless crime), and some tongue-in-cheek (Young Conservative).