BOOKS: KISKEEDEE? LOOK IT UP!

ANOTHER SLANGFEST FOR THE HUNGRY LOGOPHILE

The human capacity for insult, denigration and blasphemy seems utterly boundless. University of Tennessee research associate professor Jonathan E. Lighter demonstrated this in 1994 with the first volume of his Historical Dictionary of American Slang (A through G). Volume II (Random House; 736 pages; $65)--beginning with H, a euphemism for hell, and ending 10,000 definitions later at the letter O with Ozzie, an Australian--once again reflects Americans' ingenious talent for verbal invention as well as Lighter's indefatigable scholarship.

As in the first volume, Lighter shows that most slang terms describe sexual activity or genitalia, or derive from the private lingo of...

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