The 1995 edition of this book was edited by Robert L. Chapman. Published in New York by HarperCollins. In January of 2004 listed it at $42.95.

Typical Question:

“What does ‘rad’ mean?”




Provide definitions of American slang words.


  • Has over 19,00 definitions of American slang, jargon, and colloquialisms.
  • Entries with a filled triangular bullet are “Taboo” words that make up approximately 2% of the entries.
  • Entries with a empty triangular bullet are Vulgar words, and these make up 7% of the entries.
  • A round black bullet begins editorial notes. Editorial notes are the useful information that did not fit the normal format.
  • About one fourth of the entries give general date of first use.
  • About one fourth of the entries illustrate usage with quotations or invented examples.
  • The book gives detailed definitions and some origins of words.
  • The preface defines types of levels of English language such as slang, cant, dialects, etc.
  • Notes the group that uses the term. i.e.: U.S, Navy, computers.
  • Arranged alphabetically.


Intended for high school through college level; For use in home, office, and library.

Dates of Coverage:

Covers all periods of American history. Ranges from acceptable to taboo terms.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

Lacks a comprehensive list of abbreviations that are used. It also lacks a bibliography of sources.

LCSH: 1. English language—US—Slang—Dic. 2. English language—Slang—Dic. 3. Americanisms—Dic.