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The Oxford Dictionary of New Words

Knowles, Elizabeth; Elliott, Julia
Publisher:  Oxford University Press, New York, USA
Year Published:  1998   First Published:  1991
Pages:  357pp   Price:  $23.50   ISBN:  0-19-860235-9
Library of Congress Number:  PE1630.094   Dewey:  423'.1-dc21

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If you want to know the hot words of the Eighties and Nineties then this dictionary is a requirement. It covers over 20,000 high-profiled words and phrases. Each entry provides a handy explanation of the new word or phrase and also the history behind the word and its usage. The Quotations for these explanations come from a wide variety of sources such as prominent books, newspapers, magazines, advertisements as well as on-line sources. The actual use in journalism and in fiction make this section a real treat to see some of the first usage of phrases that we now used every day. The concept of this dictionary is also very contemporary with Graphic Icons used to indicate the subject fields where the word is most commonly used. For example, A tree icon is used for the environment and a stick figure stretching, for Health and Fitness. The vocabulary collected here also provides an overview of those historical, cultural and social concerns and events that were relevant in the eighties and nineties. It also reflects the effects of technology and scientific discovery that has occurred during this time. New words such as "cardboard city" and soup kitchen"also indicate how the effect of poverty and homelessness has slipped into our everyday language and psyche. There are also new uses for existing words and phrases such as "dude" and "hole in the world" which have developed totally different meanings in the Nineties. Those words and phrases that have propriety value that are actually copy-written by someone are also indicated. This dictionary is a useful asset for those people who are still bugging out about the hackers and ravers. For those of us who are part of Generation X, this dictionary is also a great time-capsule of our history. Word!

[Review by Nicole Redman]

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