"Décharné’s mind is a trivia trap of the first order, and the book is a bracing historical tour of the lexicons of sex, prostitution, crime, alcohol, drugs, popular music and military slang. The most significant achievement of this book is to show how closely related some of our offensive, obscene and informal language really is."
– New York Times Book Review
"A triumph of philological research and mordant social commentary."
– The Washington Post
"Whether discussing Geoffrey Chaucer or Johnny Depp’s tattoos, Mr. De´charne´ proves, as he might put it, hip to the tip. He has stretched his lunch-hooks into some unlikely places in his quest for curious argot, and there’s a whole lot of bizarre information in his fusebox (or his idea pot, if you prefer)."
– The Wall Street Journal
"A fascinating study. Décharné makes it absolutely clear that [slang] moves in waves through time from commonly expressed, to underground or forbidden, to aboveground again."
"Lovers of language will be engrossed by Décharné’s excavation of the history of English-language slang. A well-stocked and exhaustively researched compendium."
– Publishers Weekly
"A breathtaking history and overview of English slang. Along with collections focused on linguistics and the history of the English language, this well-written volume will be of interest to general readers and others curious about popular culture. Highly recommended."
– Library Journal (starred)
"An erudite miscellany that tracks centuries of playful mutations endured by the English language. Bawdy and jive."
– Kirkus Reviews
"A spectacular feat, collating information from a mind-boggling range of sources—from jazz lyrics to dime novels, from 18th-century brothel directories to 1960s criminal autobiographies."
– New Statesman
"The chapters range over sex, crime, booze, drugs, war, politics, the armed forces, schools, everywhere that private languages develop and thrive. There are many good stories, and his chapters on music slang are the best."
– The Times (UK)