Jonathon Green is a walking dictionary of modern slang

Jonathon Green


Do you know what a "hoffing" is? A "Jew-fencer"? Or what a "Nazi spy" is slang for? Author Jonathon Green reveals all in his newly-published Chambers Slang Dictionary.

Mr Green, a 60-year-old lexicographer, has spent more than 15 years researching the dictionary, which contains definitions of around 85,000 slang words and phrases.

He tells People: "I've always loved reading and language and I've now found myself in the perfect job.
"I love the fascination of language and enjoy the absolute outrageousness of some of the slang. It's not politically correct; it's all dope, sex and rock and roll. It doesn't do caring, sharing and compassion.
"It's very obvious that Yiddish plays a part in slang and having a smattering of Yiddush from my father, this is something I know a bit about."

London-based Mr Green, who read history at Oxford, acknowledges there are quite a few Yiddish words and phrases in his new book, including: bubele (a general affectionate term of address) and alter kacker (old sh*t).

So, why would someone want to use the dictionary? "On the whole, people do not use it for spelling but like to know etymologies - the stories behind the words."

He says: "People have the illusion that there are only two uses of slang; dirty words and rhyming slang. The point of the book is to provide authoritative information on this subset of the English language."

Oh, and in case you wondered, a hoffing is a fight, a Jew-fencer is a Jewish street-seller and a Nazi spy is rhyming slang for a meat pie.

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