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About the book
  • Published: 15 March 2017
  • ISBN: 9781405930598
  • Imprint: Michael Joseph
  • Format: Hardback
  • RRP: $12.99

A Dictionary of RAF Slang


Formats & editions


A retro 1945 book about the Royal Air Force's slang words and phrases.

Over the past century, the servicemen and women of the Royal Air Force have created their own rich language. This remarkable book from 1945 by lexicographer Eric Partridge records the meaning behind a fascinating list of slang, from Canteen Cowboys (Ladies' men) to Half-Pint Heroes (boasters).

Did you know that well-decorated flying aces were often nicknamed 'fruit salad', because their ribbons worn under the flying brevets would look like fruit in a tin? Or that if eager young crew were described as 'keen as mustard', this was a pun on Keen's mustard powder?

The Dictionary of RAF Slang is a funny and fascinating insight into a time gone by.

  • Pub date: 15 March 2017
  • ISBN: 9781405930598
  • Imprint: Michael Joseph
  • Format: Hardback
  • RRP: $12.99

About the Author

Eric Partridge

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.


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