Hatchet Jobs and Hardball: Dictionary of American Political Slang

Overview


Here is a wonderful Baedeker to down-and-dirty politics--more than six hundred slang terms straight from the smoke-filled rooms of American political speech.
Hatchet Jobs and Hardball: The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang illuminates a rich and colorful segment of our language. Readers will find informative entries on slang terms such as Beltway bandit and boondoggle, angry white male and leg treasurer, juice bill and Joe Citizen, banana superpower and the Big ...
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Hatchet Jobs and Hardball: The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang : The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang

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Overview


Here is a wonderful Baedeker to down-and-dirty politics--more than six hundred slang terms straight from the smoke-filled rooms of American political speech.
Hatchet Jobs and Hardball: The Oxford Dictionary of American Political Slang illuminates a rich and colorful segment of our language. Readers will find informative entries on slang terms such as Beltway bandit and boondoggle, angry white male and leg treasurer, juice bill and Joe Citizen, banana superpower and the Big Fix. We find not only the meaning and history of familiar terms such as gerrymander, but also of lesser-known terms such as cracking (splitting a bloc of like-minded voters by redistricting) and fair-fight district (which refers to areas redistricted to favor no political party). Each entry includes the definition of the word, its historical background, and illuminating citations, some going back more than 200 years. (We learn, for instance, that a term as seemingly current as political football actually dates back to before the Civil War.) Selected entries will have extended encyclopedic notes. The book also features sidebar essays on topics such as political words in Blogistan; a short history of "big cheese"; all about chads and the 2000 election; the suffix "-gate" and all the related Watergate terms; and the naming of legislation.
Political junkies, policy wonks, journalists, and word lovers will find this book addictive reading as well as a reliable guide to one of the more colorful corners of American English.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A handy phrase-book to help us understand the yammering of the Beltway's chatterati."--Wall Street Journal

"Those seriously concerned with the vitality of our wonky Beltway blather may want to skip the next agriculture-subsidy roundtable to train their bifocals on 'Hatchet Jobs and Hardball'.... There, with some imagination, you can freshen your lexicon with some forgotten or fairly obscure, but nevertheless serviceable, bits of political argot. Impress your fellow sheeple!"--Tom Kuntz, The New York Times

"An entertaining and informed lexicon of 600 words and phrases describing both current and past political activities and the politicos who made them happen...a most useful state-of-the-slang compendium."--Library Journal

"Word lovers and miners for old terms of art that deserve new life will find delight here.... The book has a short introduction by James Carville and Mary Matalin. And in addition to nearly 300 pages of citations, Mr. Barrett includes eight brief essays, one of them on '-gate' coinages (Does anybody remember what 'clamgate' or 'waste-watergate' referred to?)."--Dallas Morning News

Library Journal
Dictionaries of political slang remain up-to-date only until the next election. Barrett, project editor of The Historical Dictionary of American Slang, presents an entertaining and informed lexicon of 600 words and phrases describing both current and past political activities and the politicos who made them happen. Each entry includes a definition and examples of its usage, some dating back two centuries. The most entertaining words describe current phenomena "American Taliban," those who believe that religion should have a place in government; "globaloney," an unrealistic foreign policy; "NASCAR dad," a white, blue-collar married man; and "war blog," a personal web site devoted usually to terrorism. Also included are a few short essays about the enduring impact of some prominent slang usage, including interesting ones on the effect of online journals on political communications or on how the suffix -gate is used to describe real or contrived political scandals. Bottom Line Although not as comprehensive as William Safire's 1993 Safire's New Political Dictionary: The Definitive Guide to the New Language of Politics, this is a most useful state-of-the-slang compendium. Recommended for academic and all public libraries, which may want to consider having copies in both ready reference and general collections. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195176858
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/1/2004
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Grant Barrett is the project editor of the Historical Dictionary of American Slang and a lexicographer in Oxford University Press's U.S. Dictionaries program. He lives in New York City.

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