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Informal English

Informal English

Puncture Ladies, Egg Harbors, Mississippi Marbles, and Other Curious Words and Phrases of North America

Gleaned from antiquated dictionaries, dialect glossaries, studies of folklore, nautical lexicons, historical writings, letters, novels, and miscellaneous sources, Informal English offers a captivating treasure trove of linguistic oddities that will not only entertain but also shed light on America's colloquial past. Among the gems are:
  • Surface-coal: cow dung, widely used for fuel in Texas
  • Bone-orchard: in the Southwest slang for a cemetery
  • Chawswizzled: "confounded" in Nebraskan idiom. "I'll be chawswizzled!"
  • Leather-ears: to Cape Cod inhabitants, a person of slow comprehension
  • Puncture lady: a southwestern expression for a woman who prefers to sit on the sidelines at a dance and gossip rather than dance, often puncturing someone's reputation

Whether the entries are unexpected twists on familiar-sounding expressions or based on curious old customs, this wide-ranging assortment of vernacular Americanisms will amaze and amuse even the most hard-boiled curmudgeon.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743254939 | 
  • April 2005
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About the Author

Jeffrey Kacirk
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Jeffrey Kacirk

Jeffrey Kacirk is the author of Forgotten English, The Word Museum, and Altered English, as well as a daily calendar based on Forgotten English. He can be found on the web at www.forgottenenglish.com and lives in Marin County, California.

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