Oi veh! – Mr Slang’s Guide to Yiddish

‘Adam gave names to all created things; his Yiddish-speaking descendants offer critiques' - here's Jonathon Green's guide to the Jewish language of the put-down... Yiddish, sometimes known as Jüdisch -Deutsch (Jewish-German)  is the dialect of German spoken by the German or Ashkenazi (Hebrew: ‘German’, i.e. European) Jews. It has been recorded ... Read More...

Twelve hundred words for Drunk

Happy New Year from all the Dabblers. To get you in the mood for tonight's celebrations, here's Mr Slang's very first dabble from the archives, all about being drunk... If I do a rough count of the main themes that inform my recently published Green’s Dictionary of Slang, I find – ... Read More...

The Lexicography of Erotica

Continuing last fortnight's theme, Mr Slang examines the lexicography of 'specialist' book titles, and uncovers a "grim commentary on the tropes of male excitement..." This is it, I promise. The last one. But pondering the verbose titles of the 19th century pornography, I could but compare them with modernity, or nearly ... Read More...

The Dirty Bookshops of Holywell Street

Jonathon Green takes a trip to the 'specialist' bookshops of The Backside of St Clements... All gone now. What you’re looking at above is the Australian High Commission (though didn’t that get knocked down too a year ago or so?). Like Fred and Rose’s lair at 25 Cromwell Street, Holywell Street had ... Read More...

Slang in Stereotype

What is slang all about? Jonathon muses on stereotypes, in life and in the counter-language that holds up its dark mirror to life... I am in a cab. The cabbie asks what work I do. I explain that I write dictionaries. Dictionaries, that is, of slang. And the cabbie, who stands ... Read More...

The Noble Art of Milling

Jonathon fibs you right in the claret-spout with his fambler, as he examines slang's obsession with fisticuffs... Unlike slang's women, slang's men do not scold. And nag? heaven forfend. Men shout. Loud, vain, futile. All that stuff. Gobshites, basically. But men also hit. How do I wallop thee, let me count the ... Read More...

Time for a Line

It's holiday time, and Mr Slang is spending his summer constructing interactive timelines of popular terms for the penis. You ain't seen nothing like this before... It’s August. Holiday time, I gather. I had mine in June but no matter. My short-lived tan has faded and my mind is blank. Slang ... Read More...