Ammon Shea is the author of Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages and The Phone Book: The Curious History of the Book That Everyone Uses But No One Reads. With Peter Novobatzky, he wrote Depraved English and Insulting English, which both highlight obscure and unusual English words. He was a consulting editor of American dictionaries for the Oxford University Press. Shea has also contributed to the “On Language” column in the Sunday New York Times.


The final volume of a landmark dictionary of American colloquialisms is finally complete after more than half a century, and it’s a whoopensocker of a book, writes Ammon Shea.