Ware's Victorian Dictionary of Slang and Phrase
Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
First published in 1909 and reproduced here with a new introduction by Oxford English Dictionary editor John Simpson, Ware’s Victorian Dictionary of Slang and Phrase reflects the rich history of unofficial English. Many of the expressions are obsolete; one is not likely to have the misfortune of encountering a “parlour jumper.” Order a “shant of bivvy” at the pub and you’ll be met with a blank stare. But some of the entries reveal the origins of expressions still in use today, such as calling someone a “bad egg” to indicate that they are dishonest or of ill-repute. While showing the significant influence of American English on Victorian slang, the Dictionary also demonstrates how impressively innovative its speakers were.
A treasure trove of everyday language of the nineteenth century, this book has much to offer in terms of insight into the intriguing history of English and will be of interest to anyone with a passion for words.