Slang Dictionaries

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This article originally appeared in Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records, edited by Kory L. Meyerink.


Slang dictionaries offer definitions for unconventional words. Two well-known examples are Dictionary of American Slang, by Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner, and A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, by Eric Partridge. Both dictionaries present definitions of slang and special terms from various vocations, geographical regions, and ethnic groups.

From Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English.

Partridge’s Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English includes colloquialisms and catch phrases, fossilized jokes and puns, general nicknames, and vulgarisms. An appendix of items too unwieldy to fit comfortably into the main text includes occupational names, Cockney English catch-phrases, and “Railwaymen’s Slang and Nicknames.” The latter is illustrated in the attached image.

The Dictionary of American Slang is one of the best American slang dictionaries. It features a ten-page overview of American slang and its evolution. Also included is an interesting discussion of groups within American culture responsible for the proliferation of slang in everyday English. Flexner notes that the vocabulary of the average American is estimated at ten thousand to twenty thousand words. Of this amount, Flexner estimates that two thousand are slang words and that they are among the most frequently used (Wentworth and Flexner 1975, viii).

An entry from the regional dictionary Western Words: A Dictionary of the American West.

Slang dictionaries often list words that have a specific or cultural emphasis, such as Words of the Vietnam War, by Gregory R. Clark, and Dictionary of Afro-American Slang, by Clarence Major. There are also dialect and regional dictionaries for most areas within the United States. The attached figure shows an entry found in the regional dictionary Western Words: A Dictionary of the American West, by Ramon Frederick Adams.



Printed Sources: A Guide to Published Genealogical Records


Publication Information:

Introduction - By Kory L. Meyerink

Origin of InformationCategories of Research Sources and ToolsEvaluation of Printed SourcesDocumentation and CopyrightLearning What Printed Sources ExistPublishers and DistributorsRepositories of Printed SourcesEffective Use of Libraries and Archives

Chapter 1: General Reference - Martha L. Henderson

Unique Resources in Public LibrariesDewey Decimal Classification SystemReference SourcesEncyclopediasGeneral History SourcesSocial History SourcesAlmanacs, Chronologies, and Statistical SourcesUsing DirectoriesLocal DirectoriesPrinted Professional DirectoriesInstitutional DirectoriesDirectories of Groups and AssociationsSource GuidesGeneral Language DictionariesHistorical and Etymological DictionariesSlang DictionariesSubject DictionariesSurname DictionariesGovernment DocumentsUsing BibliographiesElectronic SourcesReferences for Printed Sources: Chapter 1

Chapter 2: Instructional Materials - Sandra Hargreaves Luebking

Introduction to Instructional MattersHow-To Guides and Manuals for AdultsHow-to Guides and Manuals for Young PeopleGenealogy Technologies and Refinement of SkillsCourses and Programs of StudyPeriodical ArticlesIdentifying and Obtaining Instructional MaterialsEvaluating Instructional MaterialsSelecting Textbooks for Classroom UseThe Future of Instructional MaterialsReferences for Printed Sources: Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Introduction to Geographic ToolsIntroduction to Maps and GazettersMapping of a New NationRoutes to the WestCanals and WaterwaysRailroadsPolitical MapsNineteenth-Century MapsUSGS Topographic MapsOrdering Topographic Map Names and NumbersOrdering Topographic MapsDigital Topographic MapsOut-of-Print Topographic MapsFact Sheets and General Interest PublicationsOther Types of USGS MapsNineteenth-Century National GazetteersTwentieth-Century National GazetteersPostal Guides and Shipping GuidesMaps, Gazetteers, and the ComputerFinding Geographic ToolsUsing Geographic ToolsReferences for Printed Sources: Chapter 3

Chapter 4

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Chapter 5

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Chapter 6

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Chapter 7

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Chapter 8

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Chapter 9

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Chapter 10

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Chapter 11

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Chapter 12

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Chapter 13

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Chapter 14

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Chapter 15

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Chapter 16

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Chapter 17

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Chapter 18

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Chapter 19

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Chapter 20

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Appendix

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