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Provides definitions for cowboy slang words, and gives information about places, foods, and state nicknames of the American West
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Thomas L. Clark is professor of English and linguistics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.From Booklist:
This work differs from the several dictionaries of western words recently reviewed in RBB in that it covers more than just cowboy and western slang terms but also puts emphasis on places, such as states and cities, and on foods--abalone, cilantro, garbanzo, geoduck, mescal, etc. It includes the nicknames of most western states (Golden, Beehive, Stubtoe, and so on). It also briefly covers broader subjects, such as mission design architecture and the polite expression, "Mi casa es su casa." Entries vary from a few lines to a quarter page, and there are some black-and-white photographs and line drawings. Authorities are rarely cited in the text, but most western dictionaries are mentioned in the prefatory matter and are listed in the bibliography.
The work shows a want of editorial tightness. Listings, for example, of the date or period of "first occurence" seem, in many instances, to be too late. For example, the term zanja madre is dated to the period "from 1870's," but Los Angeles had a zanja madre (water-carrying ditch) as early as the 1780s. Clark says that the term joshua tree dates "from 1870's," but they were named in the early 1850s by Mormons who fancied they resembled the biblical Joshua, praying with extended arms. There are some surprising omissions. The words rancheria and gambusino were in common use by 1849. There are also some outright errors. Tule fog does not regularly occur in the Imperial Valley but in the Central Valley of California. The Santa Ana Mountains were not named for General Santa Anna but for the nearby Santa Ana River in about 1769, when the future general was not yet born. And Silicon Valley is southeast, not southwest, of San Francisco.
The work does cover many interesting and little-known facts about western lore, and it provides more etymologies than do some other dictionaries of western words.
The book has merit, but libraries already well supplied with dictionaries of western words, cowboy slang, and the like might wish to pass.
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Book Description Univ of Utah Pr, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Still in the publisher's shrink wrap. Seller Inventory # 023608
Book Description Univ of Utah Pr, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0874805104
Book Description Univ of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, UT, 1996. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition, First Thus. BRAND NEW & Collectible. First Edition, First Thus. Dictionary. Compilation of words that originated in the American west. Americanisms, many enduring and others that have fallen to the wayside. Entries with pronunciation when necessary, etymology & date of first occurrence when known. Seller Inventory # 007265
Book Description Univ of Utah Pr, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110874805104