Green’s Dictionary of Slang

About Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Green’s Dictionary of Slang is the largest historical dictionary of English slang. Written by Jonathon Green over 17 years from 1993, it reached the printed page in 2010 in a three-volume set containing nearly 100,000 entries supported by over 400,000 citations from c. AD 1000 to the present day. The main focus of the dictionary is the coverage of over 500 years of slang from c. 1500 onwards.

The printed version of the dictionary received the Dartmouth Medal for outstanding works of reference from the American Library Association in 2012; fellow recipients include the Dictionary of American Regional English, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. It has been hailed by the American New York Times as ‘the pièce de résistance of English slang studies’ and by the British Sunday Times as ‘a stupendous achievement, in range, meticulous scholarship, and not least entertainment value’.

On this website the dictionary is now available in updated online form for the first time, complete with advanced search tools enabling search by definition and history, and an expanded bibliography of slang sources from the early modern period to the present day. Since the print edition, nearly 60,000 quotations have been added, supporting 5,000 new senses in 2,500 new entries and sub-entries, of which around half are new slang terms from the last five years.

More by Jonathon Green

Slang: A Very Short Introduction

The Stories of Slang: Language at Its Most Human (2017)

“Lovers of language should be grateful to those who create slang, and to those few like Mr Green who make it their work to open this window into the psyche for the benefit of all.” — The Economist

Slang: A Very Short Introduction

Slang: A Very Short Introduction (2016)

“A welcome addition to Oxford’s estimable Very Short Introductions series, and anyone seeking an accessible tour d’horizon of this lively subject will find that Green’s book is just the ticket.” — Times Literary Supplement


Language!: Five Hundred Years of the Vulgar Tongue (2014)

“Bursts with linguistic interest and fun historical nuggets.” — The Guardian

Odd Job Man

Odd Job Man: Some Confessions of a Slang Lexicographer (2014)

“This memoir of a life spent exploring the grubby margins of the English language reveals plenty about both that language and Green himself.” — The Spectator

The Dictionary in Print

Chambers Slang Dictionary

Chambers Slang Dictionary (2008)

A one-volume concise dictionary of slang, without quotations.

“To winch the dictionary onto your knee and open its pages is like entering an orchard full of strange and wonderful fruit.” — The Sunday Telegraph

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Green’s Dictionary of Slang (2010)

The full three-volume dictionary with citations and bibliography.

“A stupendous achievement, in range, meticulous scholarship, and not least enterainment value.” — The Sunday Times