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Mizzled

Roy Harris, 21 February 1985

Longman Dictionary of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk.
Longman, 1875 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 582 55511 6
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The Private Lives of English Words 
by Louis Heller, Alexander Humez and Malcah Dror.
Routledge, 333 pp., £12.95, May 1984, 0 7102 0006 4
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The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words 
by Bill Bryson.
Viking, 173 pp., £7.95, April 1984, 0 7139 1653 2
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The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots 
by Joseph Shipley.
Johns Hopkins, 637 pp., $39.95, May 1984, 0 8018 3004 4
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A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English 
by Eric Partidge and Paul Beale.
Routledge, 1400 pp., £45, May 1984, 0 7100 9820 0
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... to fruition by Penguin and the fruits thereof foisted on a gullible public at £7.95 a time. Joseph Shipley’s The Origins of English Words is quite a different kettle of lexical fish: but ‘kettle’ is the word. Anything caught swimming in the Indo-European ocean has been thrown into the pot. The result is an etymological stew which defies ...

All my eye and Betty Martin

Roy Harris, 1 December 1983

A Dictionary of Mottoes 
by L.G. Pine.
Routledge, 303 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780710093394
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Newspeak: A Dictionary of Jargon 
by Jonathon Green.
Routledge, 263 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9685 2
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The Oxford Miniguide to English Usage 
by E.S.C. Weiner.
Oxford, 412 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 19 869127 0
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The Oxford Dictionary of Current Idiomatic English: Volume II 
by A.P. Cowrie, R. Mackin and I.R. McCaig.
Oxford, 685 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 19 431150 3
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A Dictionary of the Teenage Revolution and its Aftermath 
by Kenneth Hudson.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £12.95, October 1983, 0 333 28517 4
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A Dictionary of Catch-Phrases 
by Eric Partridge.
Routledge, 278 pp., £5.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9989 4
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... which it would be difficult to beat. Take, for instance, his ‘peel me a grape,’ which cites Joseph T. Shipley as the source for the following information: ‘ ...first spoken by Mae West in her play Diamond Lil, which opened in New York on 9 April, 1928 ... Diamond Lil is a member of the demi-monde who affects the ...

Unruly Sweet Peas

Alison Light: Working-Class Gardens, 18 December 2014

The Gardens of the British Working Class 
by Margaret Willes.
Yale, 413 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 0 300 18784 7
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... as a ‘flake’, or ‘Hufton’s Magnificent’. Hufton walked the ten miles from his cottage in Shipley in Derbyshire to Nottingham and back to show his flowers, carrying a dozen pots from his shoulders like a milkmaid’s yoke. But Willes is interested in every kind of ‘gardening practice’: how to grow asparagus by supporting the stems in bottles, or ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... an anniversary marked that week with 17 co-ordinated bombings in Baghdad. May 2nd is the date of Joseph McCarthy’s death and J. Edgar Hoover’s. It is the date of Tony Blair’s 1997 election victory and the day in 1982 on which a British navy submarine torpedoed the General Belgrano. Soon after colleagues at Camp Abu Naji woke up to news of Anthony ...

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