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Eric Partridge in 1971
Eric Honeywood Partridge (6 February 1894 – 1 June 1979) was a noted New Zealandmarker/Britishmarker lexicographer of the English language, particularly of its slang.

Early life

Partridge was born near Waimata Valley, Gisbornemarker, on the North Islandmarker of New Zealandmarker to John Thomas Partridge, a grazier, and his wife Ethel Norris. In 1907 the family moved to Brisbanemarker, Australia, where he was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar Schoolmarker. He then studied first classics and then French and English at the University of Queenslandmarker. During this time Partridge also taught for three years as a school teacher before serving in the Australian infantry during the First World War, living through the horror of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. His interest in slang and the "underside" of language is said to date from his wartime experience. He finally received his BA in 1921.

Scholarly career

After receiving his degree, he became Queensland Travelling Fellow at Balliol Collegemarker, Oxfordmarker, where he worked on both an MA on eighteenth-century English romantic poetry, and a B.Litt in comparative literature. He subsequently taught in a grammar school in Lancashire for a brief interval, then took lecturing positions at the Universities of Manchestermarker (1925-6) and London (1926-7). In 1925 he married Agnes Dora Vye-Parminter, with whom he had a daughter. In 1927 he founded the Scholartis Press, which he managed until it closed in 1931. He then became a full-time writer, occupying the same desk (K1) in the British Librarymarker almost daily for the next fifty years. His first major work on slang, Slang Today and Yesterday, appeared in 1933, and his well-known Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English followed in 1937. His writing career was interrupted only by his service in the Army Education Corps and the RAF correspondence department during World War II. Partridge died in Moretonhampsteadmarker, Devonmarker, in 1979.

Partridge wrote over forty books on the English language, including well-known works on etymology and slang. He also wrote novels under the pseudonym Corrie Denison, and books on tennis, which he played well. His papers are archived at the University of Birminghammarker, British Librarymarker, King's College, Cambridgemarker, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the University of Exetermarker, the University of San Franciscomarker, Warwickshiremarker Record Office, and William Salt Library.

Works (selected)

  • A Charm of Words. New York, Macmillan Co., 1961 (copyright 1960)
  • A New Testament Word Book: a Glossary. London, George Routledge & Sons, 1940. Republished New York, Books for Libraries Press, 1970. The 1987 republication by the Christian publisher Barbour & Company of Uhricksville, Ohio as The Book of New Testament Word Studies, with copyright claimed by the publisher, appears to be a copyright violation.
  • The 'Shaggy Dog' Story. New York, Philosophical Library, 1954
  • A Dictionary of the Underworld. London, Macmillan Co., 1949; reprinted with new addenda, New York, Bonanza Books, 1961
  • From Sanskrit to Brazil. Hamish Hamilton.
  • Here, There and Everywhere. Hamish Hamilton.
  • Name Into Word. Secker & Warburg
  • A Dictionary of Catch Phrases. Routledge & Kegan Paul/Stein and Day.
  • A Dictionary of Clichés. Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • A Dictionary of Forces’ Slang.
  • A Dictionary of RAF Slang. Michael Joseph, 1945; new edition with an introduction by Russell Ash, Pavilion Books, 1990 ISBN 978-1851455263
  • Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang.
  • Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (1958). Reprint: Greenwich House, New York, 1983. ISBN 0-517-41425-2. Reprint: Random House Value Publishing(1988)
  • A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. 1st edition: London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1937.
  • :2nd edition 1938
  • :3rd edition 1949
  • :4th edition 1951
  • :5th edition in two volumes, supplement much enlarged, 1961. Reprinted in 1 vol. 1963. Mary Martin Books. Adelaide, South Australia.
  • :6th edition 1967
  • :7th edition 1970
  • :8th edition London and New York, Routledge, 1984
  • Shakespeare's Bawdy. London, Routledge & Kegan Paul (1947)/New York, E. P. Dutton & Co. (1948), Reprint: Routledge (1991) ISBN 0-415-05076-6
  • Slang Today and Yesterday. Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • A Smaller Slang Dictionary.
  • You Have A Point There: A Guide to Punctuation and its Allies.
  • Usage and Abusage: A Guide to Good English. Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Books. Reprint: W. W. Norton & Company (1997) ISBN 0-393-31709-9
  • Name This Child. Hamish Hamilton.
  • Name Your Child. Evans Bros.
  • Eric Partridge In His Own Words. Edited by David Crystal. 1980. Macmillan Publishing Co., New York. ISBN 0-02-528960-8.

See also

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