In the first of a new series Jonathon Green and Peter Curran explore the disreputable backstreets of the English language. Today they look at the many slang terms for drink and drunkenness, and discuss the life of Nelson Algren, the first of Jonathon’s Heroes Of Slang.
I saw that one enquiry only gave occasion to another, that book referred to book, that to search was not always to find, and to find was not always to be informed; and that thus to persue perfection, was, like the first inhabitants of Arcadia, to chace the sun, which, when they had reached the hill where he seemed to rest, was still beheld at the same distance from them.
— Johnson’s introduction to the Dictionary of the English Language (1755)
Today marks the launch of Green’s Dictionary of Slang Online, a digitized version of Green’s Dictionary of Slang, which originally appeared as a three-volume book in 2010. Everything that was in that book is available here, plus the fruits of over five more years of research. That book, however, was a beginning. Research continues and for the first time, the evolving database will be able to reflect the on-going additions and improvements that make it a unique resource.