With an engaging twenty-first-century introduction, this facsimile of J. Redding Ware's most famous work (originally published in 1909 as Passing English
) presents "vocabulary and expressions that he encountered during his life in and around the music halls, theatres, and streets of London."
You'll find "voguish late-Victorian expressions,"
as well as new (at the time) idioms that still persist today. Far from straitlaced ("Ware intended his book to amuse as well as inform"
), this informal dictionary enjoyed popularity in its day, was cited 150+ times in the Oxford English Dictionary
, and was used by James Joyce while writing Ulysses
. From "Acknowledge the corn"
("adroit confession of minor offence to intensify the denial of the major offence"
) to "Zarndrer"
("the long single curl brought from the back hair over the left shoulder, and allowed to lie on the breast"
), this is compelling linguistic and historical fare! (CH)