Grant Barrett, project editor of the Historical Dictionary of American Slang, writes to say they’re looking for letters of support from users of the existing two volumes of the dictionary: “Editing is currently underway for the final two volumes (in the P-Z range) with Volume III tentatively scheduled for release in 2006. Just a few lines about how you use the dictionary would be enough. You can send them to him directly at”
Come on, people, I know you love this magnificent work as much as I do (if you’re not acquainted with it, seek it out at your local library and discover its riches); slang has often been documented haphazardly, but never with the kind of rigor and thoroughness on display in the two handsome volumes already produced. Let the folks at Oxford know you appreciate their picking it up from the half-finished oblivion to which Random House had consigned it!


  1. I have been impatiently waiting for the third volume of this dictionary ever since the second volume arrived on my doorstep. I’ve even asked my editor at Random House about it, but she’s clueless. I write contemporary and historical fiction and I desperately need a definitive source of American slang to keep my dialogue pertinent and accurate. I have numerous sources for Brit slang, but American is infinitely richer and far less researched.
    Bless anyone who hurries this project along!

  2. James C Curl says

    I often reference the first two volumes as I write, and I have been frustrated that the references stop with half the alphabet to go. I will be one of first to buy volume III when it is completed. Kudos to Random House for what has been done to date, and my encouragement to continue work on the subsequent volumes. The eight years since the release of volume II tests the patience of those of us waiting for the next volume. Please let me know when volume III is available.

  3. Oxford has picked it up; I don’t know when Vol. III is expected, though.

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