War Slang: American Fighting Words and Phrases Since the Civil War, Second Edition

Overview

Paul Dickson, one of the country's leading authorities on American slang, offers the first comprehensive collection of fighting words and wartime phrases Americans have used from the Civil War to the Iraq War. This definitive dictionary, updated and expanded to include the events of September 11 and the war on terrorism, is arranged war by war and reveals military slang at its most colorful, innovative, brutal, and ironic. Dickson also shows how language mirrors the unique experience of each conflict. For ...
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Overview

Paul Dickson, one of the country's leading authorities on American slang, offers the first comprehensive collection of fighting words and wartime phrases Americans have used from the Civil War to the Iraq War. This definitive dictionary, updated and expanded to include the events of September 11 and the war on terrorism, is arranged war by war and reveals military slang at its most colorful, innovative, brutal, and ironic. Dickson also shows how language mirrors the unique experience of each conflict. For example, World War II brought unprecedented linguistic experimentation, innovation, and abbreviation, including "dogface", "quisling", "blitz", and the immortal "GI" as well as the rich stew of pidgin English used to communicate with the native peoples of the South Pacific. Raw frustration and cynicism surface in the slang of the Vietnam War, with a record number of synonyms for the verb "to kill", including "blow away", "dust", "get some grease", "waste", and "zap".

Beginning with a brief overview of the Revolutionary War, War Slang reveals the thoughts, attitudes, and environments of America’s fighting men and women from the last 230 years. An incomparable reference work, WAR SLANG serves the language lover and military historian alike by adding a brilliant and provocative new dimension to the understanding of war.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent source for insights into the impact of wars on language and popular culture as well as wartime culture in the United States."

PRAISE FOR THE FIRST EDITION:

“In capturing the earthly color of the language of the trenches, Paul Dickson has written an A-1 blockbuster of a book.”

War Slang is both an invaluable reference and a word lover’s delight.”

“The author’s brief but carefully thought-out informal introductions to each section help define the flavor of the period.”

“Paul Dickson is a national treasure who deserves a wide audience.”

“An excellent compilation.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574887105
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/14/2003
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 7.08 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Dickson
Paul Dickson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Esquire, Smithsonian, and Playboy. He is the author of over 40 books, including The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, Slang!, and Sputnik: The Shock of the Century. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Fire Cakes
1 Civil and Uncivil Words: War Slang Before the Great War: From the War Between the States Through the War with Spain 1
2 World War I: Over there and Over the Top: Terms That Came Up from the Trenches, and Down from the Dogfight 35
3 The Many Words of World War II: G.I.'s, Jeeps, Kilroy, and V-Signs from Two Theaters of War 113
4 The Code of the Korean Conflict: A Few Words from World War 2 1/2 234
5 Vietnam Vocab: Out of the Jungles of Southeast Asia 259
6 A Gulf Glossary: Grains of "Sandspeak" from the War That Was on Every Channel 298
7 Doomsday's Dictionary: Verbal Fallout from Nukes, the Cold War (1946-1991), and the Puzzle Palace 334
8 Terms for a Time of Terror: New Words for the Post-9/11 World and the Iraq War 371
Index of Defined Words and Phrases 393
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