Book in it's 3rd edition (1998), written by Robert L. Chapman (an emeritus English professor at Drew University.) It's a book of slang. Dirty words, funny expressions, the whole thing. A great bit of fun. Covers slang from all over American history.

And it highlights the words you shouldn't use in polite company.

The 1995 edition of this book was edited by Robert L. Chapman. Published in New York by HarperCollins. In January of 2004 listed it at $42.95.

Typical Question:

“What does ‘rad’ mean?”




Provide definitions of American slang words.


  • Has over 19,00 definitions of American slang, jargon, and colloquialisms.
  • Entries with a filled triangular bullet are “Taboo” words that make up approximately 2% of the entries.
  • Entries with a empty triangular bullet are Vulgar words, and these make up 7% of the entries.
  • A round black bullet begins editorial notes. Editorial notes are the useful information that did not fit the normal format.
  • About one fourth of the entries give general date of first use.
  • About one fourth of the entries illustrate usage with quotations or invented examples.
  • The book gives detailed definitions and some origins of words.
  • The preface defines types of levels of English language such as slang, cant, dialects, etc.
  • Notes the group that uses the term. i.e.: U.S, Navy, computers.
  • Arranged alphabetically.


Intended for high school through college level; For use in home, office, and library.

Dates of Coverage:

Covers all periods of American history. Ranges from acceptable to taboo terms.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

Lacks a comprehensive list of abbreviations that are used. It also lacks a bibliography of sources.

LCSH: 1. English language—US—Slang—Dic. 2. English language—Slang—Dic. 3. Americanisms—Dic.

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