A Dictionary of the Underworld: British and American
First published in 1949 (this edition in 1968), this book is a dictionary of the past, exploring the language of the criminal and near-criminal worlds. It includes entries from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, as well as from Britain and America and offers a fascinating and unique study of language. The book provides an invaluable insight into social history, with the British vocabulary dating back to the 16th century and the American to the late 18th century. Each entry comes complete with the approximate date of origin, the etymology for each word, and a note of the milieu in which the expression arose.