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Bloomsbury Dictionary of Euphemisms

  1. Apr 7, 2003 #1
    Bloomsbury Dictionary of Euphemisms

    John Ayto

    Bloomsbury Reference (www.bloomsbury.com)

    ISBN 0-7475-5045-X


    Its a dictionary of Euphemisms. Surely I don't have to explain to you why this is possibly the greatest, most desirable book ever written/compiled.


    IT'S A DICTIONARY OF EUPHEMISMS! Plus it's *not* just a dictionary, oh no. In addition to listing and explaining common euphemisms, it is written primarily in a narrative style, explaining the relevence of the items listed, detailing the role of euphemism, as well as offering a commentary upon the origins and contemporary use of particularly powerful examples (the section on war being particularly interesting at this point in time).


    Like the pope, this book cannot be faulted. Like the pope, it hides in a rather silly looking contraption, in this case the cover. Yes, I'm onto covers again. In this case there's a dreadfully pedestrian illustration of light emerging from behind a partially darkened Earth which is set within complete darkness. Yeah, sole beacon, gotcha. Nice one. I know I labour this point throughout my reviews, but I believe that any cultured and civilised society needs to respect and appreciate aesthetic quality. Unfortunately, it would appear that the marketing department at Bloomsbury thought it would be a good idea to ask some self-consciously 'profound' adolescent to design the cover to this book. Also, it's printed on rubbish paper, which means it feels like some horrific romance novel in the hand.


    Despite the cover, this is a remarkably entertaining book as every bit entertaining as it is usefull. Second only to the full edition Oxford dictionary in terms of creating a sensation of glee, awe and love at the power of language (and don't give me any grief over the relative merits of Webster's or Collins, I don't want to know - find the full multi-volume Oxford English Dictionary and behold its sheer beauty, both aesthetic and functional. The sight will make you weep like a bereaved child as you recall your wrong headed preference!).
  2. jcsd
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