The Oxford Dictionary of Rhyming Slang

The Oxford Dictionary of Rhyming Slang

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Rhyming slang is a subject of perennial interest to the general language-conscious public. This book, with entries arranged in topic areas, such as clothing, food and drink, animals, sex and illness, illustrates how rich and entertaining a language form it is. Through extensive examples, John Ayto explores the range and development of rhyming slang during its 150 year history, from the "bees and honey", "oily rag" and "Uncle Ned" of traditional Cockney rhyming slang to the popney rhyming slang of more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 26mm | 222.26g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • index
  • 0192801228
  • 9780192801227

Review Text

Rhyming slang has gained a cliched reputation in recent years, but there is no doubt that this curious linguistic phenomenon is of interest to many of us, and its origins have as much etymological interest as the more sober passages in Oxford's more sober dictionaries. The layout here is by subject: the 27 subjects covered include sex, food and drink, the animal world and apparel, as full of often witty synonyms (how about the classical allusion of 'Oedipus Rex' for sexual intercourse? 'Trolley and Truck' is another entry that doesn't need too much working out). But, because this isn't a book like Ronnie Barker's compilations of cockney rhyming slang that simply goes for the laugh, there is often a genuine scholarship to be found in the definitions. 'Fields of wheat' for 'street' for instance, is noted as a piece of irony: congested city streets could not be further removed from waving fields of wheat. All 150 years of rhyming slang (yes, the dictionary is that time-specific) are covered, right up to the usages that are still being coined today. So if you prefer to call a road a 'frog and toad' (much rhyming slang takes more time to say than the word it replaces), or refer to your bride as your 'fat and wide' (rhyming slang is rarely flattering!), then this is the lexicon for you. John Ayto's approach is never po-faced (how could it be with this subject?) and his knowledge is worn lightly. So get off your bottle and glass, and have yourself a good cow and calf with this diverting book. (Kirkus UK)show more

Table of contents

Introduction. Thematic sections. People and the Human Condition. The Body and Its Parts. The Senses. In the Lav. Illness. Ethnic and National Groups. Relatives and Friends. Behaviour, Attitudes, and Emotions. Sense and Nonsense. Sex. Crime and Punishment. Animals. Food and Drink. Alcohol and other Drugs. Household Matters. Clothing. Money and Commerce. Work and Its Lack. At Leisure. Sport. Gambling. Communication. Transport and Travel. Time and Tide. Location. Quality and Quantity. Numbers. Indexshow more

About John Ayto

Dr John Ayto is an experienced lexicographer and author of several language titles. His previous books for OUP include 'The Oxford Dictionary of Slang', 'The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang', 'The Oxford Essential Guide to the English Language'. His most recent book was '20th Century Words' (OUP, 1999), which was reviewed as 'An absolutely terrific book, brimming with nostalgia, thoroughly addictive and full of surprises'.show more

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