BOOKS: TALKING DIRTY

THAT ALL-PURPOSE OBSCENITY GETS ITS VERY OWN DICTIONARY

TIME WAS WHEN A LITTLE BOY WHO wanted to see a dirty word in print made a surreptitious trip to the dictionary and got his thrill. Now, with the publication of The F-Word (Random House paperback; 232 pages; $12.95), any curious boy or, for that matter, girl can get a bonanza of thrills and at the same time become the most foulmouthed and maybe most envied kid on the block.

As the title suggests, The F-Word, compiled by Jesse Sheidlower, a reference-book editor at Random House, and prefaced with a playful essay by humor writer Roy Blount Jr., is a more...

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