Books: American as She Is Spoke

DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG (669 pp.)—Compiled by Harold Wentworth and Stuart Berg Flexner — Crowell ($7.50).

Webster is a moldy fig. For all its scholarship, the supposedly unabridged dictionary (600,000 entries) gives hardly a hint that the American language is in the grip of a permanent revolution. The Websterian ideal of language as a careful garden of hardy perennials and occasional exotics, cultivated by a corps of devoted lexicographers, is consistently challenged by a weedy invasion of the vulgate. Professors may still protest, but the public —and most authorities—tends to silence them. Says...

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