The Largest Historical Dictionary of English Slang Now Free Online: Covers 500 Years of the “Vulgar Tongue”


“The three vol­umes of Green’s Dic­tio­nary of Slang demon­strate the sheer scope of a life­time of research by Jonathon Green, the lead­ing slang lex­i­cog­ra­ph­er of our time. A remark­able col­lec­tion of this often reviled but end­less­ly fas­ci­nat­ing area of the Eng­lish lan­guage, it cov­ers slang from the past five cen­turies right up to the present day, from all the dif­fer­ent Eng­lish-speak­ing coun­tries and regions. Total­ing 10.3 mil­lion words and over 53,000 entries, the col­lec­tion pro­vides the def­i­n­i­tions of 100,000 words and over 413,000 cita­tions. Every word and phrase is authen­ti­cat­ed by gen­uine and ful­ly-ref­er­enced cita­tions of its use, giv­ing the work a lev­el of author­i­ty and schol­ar­ship unmatched by any oth­er pub­li­ca­tion in this field.”

If you head over to, that’s how you will find Green’s Dic­tio­nary of Slang pitched to con­sumers. The dic­tio­nary is an attrac­tive three-vol­ume, hard-bound set. But it comes at a price. $264 for a used edi­tion. $600 for a new one.

Now comes the good news. In Octo­ber, Green’s Dic­tio­nary of Slang became avail­able as a free web­site, giv­ing you access to an even more updat­ed ver­sion of the dic­tio­nary. Col­lec­tive­ly, the web­site lets you trace the devel­op­ment of slang over the past 500 years. And, as Men­tal Floss notes, the site “allows lookups of word def­i­n­i­tions and ety­molo­gies for free, and, for a well-worth-it sub­scrip­tion fee, it offers cita­tions and more exten­sive search options.” If you’ve ever won­dered about the mean­ing of words like kid­ly­wink, gol­lier, and lint­head, you now know where to begin.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Cab Calloway’s “Hep­ster Dic­tio­nary,” A 1939 Glos­sary of the Lin­go (the “Jive”) of the Harlem Renais­sance

Oh My God! Win­ston Churchill Received the First Ever Let­ter Con­tain­ing “O.M.G.” (1917)

Free Online Eng­lish Lessons

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