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A Man About A Dog: Euphemisms and Other Examples of Verbal Squeamishness Hardcover – 4 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (4 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007214537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007214532
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,146,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Here are 2467 examples of verbal perfume. Nigel Rees, one of Britain's best-known commentators on popular language, has ranged far and wide to collect and comment on this huge selection of euphemisms - those expressions which so inventively display the art of mincing words and white resolutely avoid calling a spade a spade.

From the politically correct to the highly incorrect, A Man About a Dog goes in ruthless pursuit of the coy, the prudish, the obfuscatory and blatant reshaping of the truth. So, whether you wish to 'discuss Ugandan affairs' with someone, or have issues with your 'ambient replenishment assistant' when you go shopping or need to work on your 'terminological inexactitude' when you ring in sick to work, this wonderful book with guide, illuminate and entertain along the way.

About the Author

Nigel Rees is a leading authority on the use of well-known phrases and sayings. As a broadcaster, he is best-known as the deviser and presenter of BBC Radio's Quote…Unquote.

As an author, he has written many books devoted to quotations and aspects of the popular use of the English language, always emphasizing the humour in his subject.


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By Paul M on 13 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
Lots of common euphamisms and words are created regularly and although this collates many previous words there were a dissappointingly large number of words or euphamisms which I have known for decades and yet do not appear in this book.

Also the fact new euphamisms are coming out regularly which means this is kind of out of date. Its a nice snapshot of time though.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book for looking at the area of taboo subjects in English language and how we get around these by using euphemism.
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By Bill on 31 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is quite a revelation. I did not realise how many ways there were to visit the little boys room
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Although in the original Greek a euphemism was the breaking of an idea gently or inoffensively, it is now the business of not calling a spade a spade. It is a mealy-mouthed method of avoiding using the correct words to describe an activity. Many of these appear to concern bodily parts, bodily functions or sexuality which many humans regard as too embarrassing, or too distressing, to speak about. This book provides 2467 examples of what it calls "verbal perfume".

It's my "time of the month" serves as a euphemism for a woman's menstrual period although, when referred to by a third party, may well be expressed as "not at her best". Although females have breasts, these are frequently described as "melons", "jugs" or "natural attributes", while older men suffering from a decline in testosterone apparently now have "moobs" (man boobs).

Words for sexual intercourse and visiting the lavatory attract many variations. Jasper Carrott listed some of the former in his television comedy show, while the latter was brilliantly set out in a sketch by the late Ronnie Barker. "Adult" and "frank" are used to describe explicit sexual activity and language while "going to bed" with someone is a more polite reference to having sexual intercourse than some other terms used in the book. Thankfully, such terms still haven't completely replaced the traditional "As the Bishop said to the actress" references to illicit sex.

On a personal level I find TV introductions warning that "this programme contains strong language" to be a cop out and would prefer "there's a lot of swearing, cursing and other bad language in the next programme because the writer lacks the skill to write better plays".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A pick for both high school and college holdings 10 April 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A MAN ABOUT A DOG: EUPHEMISMS & OTHER EXAMPLES OF VERBAL SQUEAMISHNESS offers up over two thousand examples of euphemisms which rely on word plays and the art of mincing words. An A-Z dictionary of expressions and sayings provides lively and fun reference perfect for trivia fans and any who enjoy surveys of the oddities and ironies of the English language, making it a pick for both high school and college holdings and general-interest public libraries strong on language studies and trivia facts alike.
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