Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers: A Decade-by-Decade Guide to the Vanishing Vocabulary of the Twentieth Century

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OUP USA, Sep 29, 2005 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 239 pages
3 Reviews
Every era of the twentieth century from the "Roaring Twenties" to the "Me Decade" brought its own fads and trends and the language to go with them: fresh youth slang, up-to-the-minute buzzwords, and colorful catch phrases. Most of this new vocabulary exploded into the vernacular, only to fizzle a few years later as newer trends and more current events demanded their own terminology. Giving yesterday's words another chance to sparkle before they retire for good, Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers focuses on language that still resonates with the mood of its times. A nostalgic word trip through the highs and lows of American English from the last century, this book pays special attention to words that enjoyed a brief vogue only to end up abandoned and nearly forgotten: jet jockeys, keypunch operators, the bugged-out and the slackers. All these words have a place here in engaging essays, arranged by decade, that put them in their historical and sociological context. While the twentieth century is over, this book will help us appreciate the words that were left behind.

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Dewdroppers, waldos, and slackers: a decade-by-decade guide to the vanishing vocabulary of the twentieth century

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

As the title indicates, this reference work is not simply a slang dictionary. Along with definitions, linguist and librarian Ostler includes in each decade's chapter both brief discussions of ... Read full review

Review: Dewdroppers, Waldos, and Slackers: A Decade-By-Decade Guide to the Vanishing Vocabulary of the 20th Century

User Review  - Nancy - Goodreads

This was so much fun to read! If only my high school history textbooks had been in this format - lists of words and expressions representative of the culture (and sub-cultures) of a given time in (mostly) the US Read full review

About the author (2005)


Rosemarie Ostler, a linguist and librarian, has written on this topic for The Saturday Evening Post, and her work has also appeared in The Futurist, Oregon Quarterly, Whole Earth, and Writers' Journal.

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