Movers and Shakers: A Chronology of Words That Shaped Our Age

Overview


Take a fascinating journey from cornflakes (1907) to spam (1994). This vivid picture of the last 105 years is based on John Ayto's critically acclaimed Twentieth Century Words, and gives a selection of the key words added to the English language in the twentieth century.

For each decade, an introductory essay identifies the main historical, cultural, and scientific currents, and shows how they contributed new vocabulary to the language. An A-Z listing of words which were first ...

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Overview


Take a fascinating journey from cornflakes (1907) to spam (1994). This vivid picture of the last 105 years is based on John Ayto's critically acclaimed Twentieth Century Words, and gives a selection of the key words added to the English language in the twentieth century.

For each decade, an introductory essay identifies the main historical, cultural, and scientific currents, and shows how they contributed new vocabulary to the language. An A-Z listing of words which were first recorded in that decade follows, selected for their resonance to today's world. Each word is fully described and its origins explained. A final section looks at vocabulary developments of the new millennium. Full of surprises, Movers and Shakers is at once a glimpse of the past and a handbook for today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The book's content and treatment are of high quality."--Library Journal

Library Journal
Out of his larger and more comprehensive Twentieth Century Words(1999), lexicographer of slang Ayto (editor, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable) has selected those words that particularly reflect the spirit of their times, in some cases even serving as touchstones for a period. Following the chronological plan of the parent book, Ayto begins with a general introduction—in which he discusses the expansion of English-language vocabulary in the past century and to what degree words both shaped the times and were shaped by them—and the chapters cover each decade of the last 105 years, with a few 21st-century words folded into the final section. Chapters begin with short essays (nearly identical to those in the parent volume) that place each decade's words in the context of its science, technology, politics, and social trends. Essays are followed by an alphabetical sampling of the words of the decade (e.g., "cornflakes," "spam"), nearly all of which appear in the earlier volume. Accompanying each entry is the word's part of speech, the year of its first appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary, clarifying definitions, and one or more quotations (with dates) from print or electronic media. A word index helps with look-up.
—Paul D'Alessandro
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198614524
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. John Ayto is an experienced lexicographer and author of several language titles. His previous books for OUP include The Oxford Dictionary of Slang, The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang, and The Oxford Essential Guide to the English Language. His most recent book, Twentieth Century Words (OUP, 1999), was reviewed as "An absolutely terrific book, brimming with nostalgia, thoroughly addictive and full of surprises".

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