Volumes of Vernacular

June 7, 2011

There are fewer and fewer print dictionaries, and in fact the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, once considered a mainstay of the dictionary collection, seems to have altogether disappeared. But language lovers can take heart in the publication of a new and wonderful resource, the three-volume Green’s Dictionary of Slang, compiled by British lexicographer Jonathon Green. It’s based on historical principles, meaning that, like the Oxford English Dictionary, it traces more than 100,000 words or phrases back, as far as possible, to their first use. And speaking of the OED, a new version of Oxford English Dictionary Online was launched late last year, so dictionary fans have plenty to celebrate.

Oxford University Press. 6,000p. $450. 978-0550-10440-3.