on 30 November 2004
It's a corker (an excellent person or thing; something that closes a discussion, from the notion of putting a cork in it), a cracker, a whizz, a snozzler (if you're a New Zealander), even a piss-cutter (North American, naturally) or any one of numerous alternatives, all dated, located and explained.
It's also a must for anyone interested in the development of language. It covers everything, from The Body and its Parts (many, many words, some guaranteed to leave you gobsmacked (1985, British)) to Abstract Qualities and States. And it's well arranged by subject in the form of a thesaurus, with a convenient dictionary at the back.
But a word of warning: start to browse, and you'll find it unputdownable.
on 6 May 2000
I was hoping to find a dictionary that explains in simple language what the slang means. This one definitely doesn't. It mainly gives the origin of the word and an old example from sixties or something. Also there are no definitions. Not very useful really, because it doesn't help to understand what the slang means.
on 11 September 2014
I use this book mainly to look at synonyms – for example, American or Australian words equivalent to a bit of English slang. For this purpose it's excellent. But who was the idiot who placed the page numbers on the INSIDE margin of the pages? It makes the book very much harder to use, and for that reason I've docked it a star. Incidentally the Oxford Dictionary of Idioms suffers from the same fault, so it's clearly a conscious design decision, not the work of a bird-brained printer.