Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers

Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers : A Decade-by-Decade Guide to the Vanishing Vocabulary of the Twentieth Century

3.42 (35 ratings by Goodreads)
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Every era of the twentieth century from the "Roaring Twenties" to the "Me Decade" brought its own fads and trends and the language to go with them: fresh youth slang, up-to-the-minute buzzwords, and colorful catch phrases. Most of this new vocabulary exploded into the vernacular, only to fizzle a few years later as newer trends and more current events demanded their own terminology. Giving yesterday's words another chance to sparkle before they retire for good, Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers focuses on language that still resonates with the mood of its times. A nostalgic word trip through the highs and lows of American English from the last century, this book pays special attention to words that enjoyed a brief vogue only to end up abandoned and nearly forgotten: jet jockeys, keypunch operators, the bugged-out and the slackers. All these words have a place here in engaging essays, arranged by decade, that put them in their historical and sociological context. While the twentieth century is over, this book will help us appreciate the words that were left behind.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 154.9 x 231.1 x 20.3mm | 385.56g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195182545
  • 9780195182545
  • 1,755,924

Review quote

According to linguist and librarian Ostler, "thousands of [slang] words and expressions entered American English between 1900 and 1999." Among these, some expressions * like "groovy," "straight skinny" and "Okie * Well documented and entertaining, this book...will appeal to all aficionados of language. * Choice *
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About Rosemarie Ostler

Rosemarie Ostler, a linguist and librarian, has written on this topic for The Saturday Evening Post, and her work has also appeared in The Futurist, Oregon Quarterly, Whole Earth, and Writers' Journal.
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Rating details

35 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 11% (4)
4 31% (11)
3 49% (17)
2 6% (2)
1 3% (1)
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