Morton’s book reads like a dirty dictionary. He describes all of the bad words you know, and then a whole lot more which you’ve probably never even heard of. The subjects range from words related to anatomical parts, to sexual acts and even to words describing sexual orientation. Did you know that heterosexuals are known as straight because homosexuals used to be called “bent”? Morton not only fills readers in with this fun trivia, but he provides highly researched histories of each word. He explains the etymological links between words in language easy enough for his bawdy readers to understand. Best of all, Morton writes with a relentless, self-aware humour. When describing the word tongue and all of its dirty counterparts, he notes, “As for the phrase tongue-in-cheek, fear not: that idiom has nothing to do with the buttocks, so you can continue to use it in polite company.” Morton’s prose is subtle, eloquent, but sure to take every opportunity for a below-the-belt pun. Throughout the book, Morton quotes classical writers, celebrities and historical figures to provide another take on the subject. These are separated from the central text in small text bubbles, so that if you become extremely engrossed in the chapter about copulation words, you can just skip over the line from Shakespeare. The biggest problem with Morton’s book is that it is essentially a reference book without an index. While he acknowledges that readers will likely not want to read through the whole work in one sitting, he doesn’t realize they might not want to sit through one even chapter. I would like to be able to pick up the book when I have an itching to know about a particular word, and then be able to find that word quickly. Despite the lack of `quick-access,’ this book is very tempting. It’s fun, sexy and laugh-out-loud funny. This is linguistic entertainment at its best. After all, where else could you find five pages of words for the penis? For your ribald friend, this will make a perfect holiday gift.
A note from the uploader.
Guys, if you want to know the origins and history of "bad words", this is the best reference book for you.
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