Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable

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9780304358717: Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable

"...peerless...Brewer's has kept ahead of the game by compiling this marvelous compendium...It has captured the flavor of the past 100 years."--The Times

From American Express to American Psycho, Dadaism to Durex, the Zapata moustache to the Zinoviev letter, take an up-to-date look at the diverse and entertaining linguistic landscape of our culture. Here, deftly defined and intriguingly displayed, are thousands of words, phrases, slogans, names, events, and titles of songs, books, films, and TV programs that resonate with English-speaking people everywhere. In addition to many unusual gems, you'll find fascinating lists, focused on such varied subjects as rock group monikers, operations code names of World War II, nicknames of famous sportspeople, and some of the most celebrated advertising slogans of the past century.

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About the Author:

Adrian Room, the editor of BREWER'S DICTIONARY OF PHRASE AND FABLE, is one of Britain's most experienced compilers of reference books. He is the author of more than 50 popular reference books, mainly on the origins of words, and, in particular, names. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the English Place-Name Society and American Name Society.

From Booklist:

In this work, Room, editor of the sixteenth edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable [RBB O 15 00], focuses not only on phrases and terms that have come into the English language during the past 100 years but also on other aspects of modern society. The result is an eclectic mixture of entries that includes colloquialisms, idioms, catchphrases, slang expressions, acronyms, trade names, organizations, events, fictional characters, and titles of films, plays, novels, television programs, and works of art.

Approximately 8,000 entries are alphabetically arranged. Standard entries, which range in length from several lines to a column, treat such diverse topics as Falun Gong, Inspector Morse, Jaws of Life, My Fair Lady, Never a dull moment, Pooper scooper, and URL. In addition, the volume features a variety of theme entries, including Advertising slogans of the 20th century, First lines of novels, and Rock group names, which often extend to multiple pages. Accompanying many entries are illustrative quotations, most often garnered from British newspapers and periodicals. The work's British origins are evident in other ways as well. For instance, the entry for What's My Line? contains no mention of the U.S. version of the game show. Inevitably, one questions some of the editor's choices. Garfield and Starsky and Hutch are here, but where are The Far Side and Hill Street Blues?

Though at first glance this work would appear to be a revision of Brewer's Dictionary of Twentieth Century Phrase and Fable (Houghton, 1992), its scope is much broader, and about three-fourths of its entries were not in the earlier dictionary. There is some duplication between this volume and the sixteenth edition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable; however, the overlap is not significant enough to be of concern.

In spite of its British slant and its somewhat erratic selectivity, this entertaining compendium serves as a valuable record of twentieth-century words, expressions, and cultural allusions. It will be a useful addition to high-school, public, and academic libraries. REVWR
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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