Monday, December 29, 2008

Aimless Reading: The Reference Books, Part 3

Lighter, J.E.
Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang
Vol I, A-g, Vol 2, H-O


I know, I know, half of the set is missing. But it's not my fault -- it never appeared, which is very unfortunate, because this is a tremendous reference work. According to Wikipedia, the story of it's non-publication and proposed future publication are as follows:

The Historical Dictionary of American Slang, often abbreviated HDAS, is the most comprehensive and thoroughly researched dictionary of American slang and the only American slang dictionary prepared entirely on historical principles. The first two volumes, Volume 1, A - G (1994), and Volume 2, H - O (1997), were published by Random House, and the work then was known as the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, sometimes abbreviated as RHHDAS. Both volumes used the same ISBN, ISBN 0-394-54427-7; the paperback editions are ISBN 978-0394544274 for Volume 1 and ISBN 978-0679434641 for Volume 2. Random House decided to discontinue publication, but Oxford University Press announced in 2003 that it would publish the two remaining volumes. Volume 3, P - S [Part 1] is expected to be published in February 2008, ISBN 978-0195174182, and Volume 4, S [Part 2] - Z, is expected to be published in 2009. HDAS is notable for its use of historical principles, the dictionary approach exemplified by the Oxford English Dictionary. Each entry includes representative quotations, including the earliest quotation using the word. HDAS is edited by Dr. Jonathan E. Lighter, of the University of Tennessee.

Oxford promises to the contrary, the later two volumes have yet to be published, and I probably won't be able to afford them when they are. I plucked these two off the sale table at work -- and I didn't even pay for them! (Do you think I am going to hell?)

Here's the entry for "eye-fuck":

v. to gaze or stare at lecherously; (hence, esp. Mil.) to stare at.--usu. considered vulgar.

Indeed.

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