We often use euphemisms when dealing with taboo or sensitive subjects. We speak of "full-figured" women. We "fudge" on our income tax. We get "cold feet" before our wedding. In How Not to Say What You Mean, R.W. Holder offers an engaging volume that celebrates this human tendency to use mild, vague, or roundabout expressions rather than those which are blunt, precise, and true.
Arranged in alphabetical order, this dictionary contains thousands of entertaining and informative entries ranging from such circumlocutions as a "fruit salad" (mixture of illegal narcotics), "arm candy" (a good-looking female companion), a "barrel-house" (a brothel), "birthday suit" (nakedness), and a "blue hair" (an old women). Completely updated, the dictionary provides definitions, examples, as well as historical explanations where appropriate.
Fun, fascinating, lively, and at times shocking, this new edition of How Not to Say What You Mean is a browser's delight and will appeal to all language and word play lovers, and anyone looking for a good laugh.
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From Publishers Weekly:
R. W. Holder is the director of numerous companies, speaks several languages, and travels widely. He is also the author of Thinking About Management (Warner, 1994).
Delightful, quirky and exhaustive, Holder's dictionary of American and British circumlocutions is the kind of reference work that one can spend hours browsing through happily. This third edition includes thousands of alphabetized entries for both old-fashioned and contemporary terms. The term "uncover nakedness," for example, used be a standard Biblical translation for "copulate," though many people wouldn't recognize that use today. (Incidentally, "to line" also meant to copulate, and Holder cites part of Shakespeare's As You Like It as an example of such use: "Winter garments must be lined/So must slender Rosaline.") "Deep six," "underprivileged" and "rip off" still enjoy healthy use, and in Ireland "scuttered" still means "drunk." For Holder, however, this project is about more than just having fun with word games. In fine Orwellian spirit, Holder writes in his introduction that euphemism is "the language of evasion, of hypocrisy, of prudery, and of deceit," which makes it all the more important to be able to see through the embroidery.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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