Eric Partridge was born in New Zealand in 1894 and attended the universities of Queensland and Oxford. After working for three years as a schoolteacher, he served as a private in the Australian infantry in the First World War. In 1921 he was appointed Queensland Travelling Fellow at Oxford and was later a lecturer at the universities of Manchester and London. He founded the Scholartis Press in 1927 and managed it until 1931. In 1932 he became a full-time writer, except for his years of service in the Army and the RAF during the Second World War. Among his publications on language are A Dictionary of
Slang and Unconventional English, which was published in paperback as A Dictionary of Historical Slang and was abridged by Jacqueline Simpson; A Dictionary of Cliches, Shakespeare's Bawdy (1947); A Dictionary of the Underworld (1950); Origins: An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (1958); Name this Child (1959), a book of Christian names; Comic Alphabets (1961); The Gentle Art of Lexicography (1963); and A Dictionary of Catch Phrases (1977). Eric Partridge died in 1979.