Cover image for NTC's American idioms dictionary : the most practical reference for the everyday expressions of contemporary American English
NTC's American idioms dictionary : the most practical reference for the everyday expressions of contemporary American English
Spears, Richard A.
Personal Author:
Third edition.
Publication Information:
Chicago, Ill. : NTC Pub. Group, [2000]

Physical Description:
xiii, 625 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE1460 .S74 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PE1460 .S74 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Completely revised, updated, reorganized, and enlarged with 600 new entries. Essential for writers and learners of American English, it features a unique new format, an appendix of 500 fixed-order phrases--such as "fast and furious--that cannot be reversed, and a Phrase-Finder Index for easy lookups of even partially remembered phrases.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be at sixes or sevens or to raise hob with someone, NTC's American Idioms Dictionary is the place to look for answers. Containing more than 8,500 idiomatic phrases commonly occurring in daily conversation in the U.S., this third edition, with more than 600 new senses, defines our many baffling and confusing expressions. Although word origins are not given, this source focuses on what the users need to know: the meaning, usage, and the appropriate contexts for each idiomatic phrase. Several features make this dictionary easy and appealing to use. An introductory chapter clearly and thoroughly provides strategies to assist in finding a phrase or expression. Entries are arranged alphabetically by first word of the phrase. Some definitions are followed by comments that explain variations of the phrase and what the phrase refers to. The idiom is used in a sample sentence, and should the idiom have an alternate meaning, additional sentences are given. Definitions are further enhanced by cross-references and labels such as "folksy" and "informal." A convenient "Phrase-Finder Index" uses any keyword--noun, verb, adjective, or adverb--to guide in the location of a hard-to-find idiom. An appendix lists 500 irreversible binomials and trinomials, the two or three words always stated in a fixed order (e.g., before and after; heart and soul; hook, line, and sinker). Several other recent dictionaries of idiomatic phrases are available. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997) surveys more than 10,000 expressions and provides approximate dates of first use and histories. The Cassell Dictionary of English Idioms [RBB O 1 00] defines approximately 10,000 idioms used in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and the British Isles. The NTC entry is a solid choice for libraries needing an up-to-date, reasonably priced resource that focuses on American English.

Library Journal Review

Idioms are figures of speech that can defy literal interpretation and confound both native and non-native speakers of American English. This resource covers 8500 "proverbs, informal phrases and common sayings." Phrases are arranged alphabetically by the first word of the phrase, excluding articles such as a, an, and the. Typical entries provide brief definitions and examples of usage. The phrase finder index links keywords such as "cranny" to phrases such as "every nook and cranny." An appendix (not seen) features irreversible two- or three-word phrases (e.g., fast and furious, not furious and fast). Readers seeking the stories behind inscrutable expressions may choose to consult slang or historical dictionaries instead. Libraries that already own American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms or Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang may wish to pass on this work.DElizabeth Connor, Medical Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Charleston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Idiomatic dictionaries vary in the information they provide. The most extensive, complete slang dictionary (called by Ken Kister "the best slang dictionary ever compiled") is Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (3v., CH, Nov'94; the final volume is due in 2001), compiled on historical principles with many usage examples. A.S. Hornsby's The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Historical American Slang, ed. by Jonathan Crowther (5th ed., 1995), is based on the 100 million words of the British National Corpus and the 40 million words of the Oxford American English Corpus--two exhaustive sources. The standard dictionary of American slang, it examines 63,000 references and provides illustrations, but never states the number of its headwords. Now out of print, Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English, ed. by Della Thompson (1995), complements American slang dictionaries, is current and descriptive, includes new terms and North American phrases and words, and focu ses on English for nonnative speakers. Other titles aimed at ESL speakers are Richard A. Spears' Contemporary American Slang (1991) and Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, ed. by Victoria E. Neufeldt (3rd college ed., CH, May'94), which emphasizes Americanisms and idioms that originated in the US.NTC provides idiomatic phases and sentences often heard in American English (but not in Britain or India). Entries are arranged alphabetically with a phrase index, and give simple definitions and at least two sample sentences. For an idiom's original usage, one must consult Random House or Eric Partridge's respected Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (8th ed., 1984). For younger readers, Marvin Terban's Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms (1996) is intended for children, Christine Ammer's American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997) for young adults (it gives some history and first use information), and Webster's New World Student's Dictionary (rev. ed., 1996) for middle school users. All collections. M. S. Lary North Georgia College & State University