The Liverpool English Dictionary


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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • The language of Liverpool
  • Note on the treatment of offensive terms
  • The Liverpool English Dictionary
  • Select Bibliography

About the Author

Tony Crowley is Professor of English at the University of Leeds. Born and bred in Liverpool, he has taught at Oxford, Southampton and Manchester Universities. He was the Hartley Burr Alexander Chair of the Humanities at Scripps College, California (2005–13), and is a Fellow of the English Association. His previous books include Scouse: A Social and Cultural History (Liverpool University Press, 2012), Wars of Words: The Politics of Language in Ireland 1537–2005 (Oxford University Press, 2005) and The Politics of Language: The Standard Language Question in Cultural Debates (Palgrave, 2003).


Reviews 'A serious and quietly affecting work of language study and social history. Tony Crowley has produced a fitting companion to his superb study Scouse. His research into and adventures with the Liverpool lexicon open up windows on to old and new worlds. A Liverpool of sectarian tribes, docks, alehouses, bizzies, jiggers, humour, family, sex, fights and insults gusts through these pages like wind off the river.'
Professor Michael O’Neill, Department of English Studies, Durham University

'The language of Liverpool has long been recognised as being rather special. Now it has received special recognition in its own very special dictionary. This superb achievement is the result of decades of research by Tony Crowley, who has done a brilliant job of marrying scholarly linguistic erudition with a deep personal knowledge of the dialect. His affection for Scouse and the community which speaks it is obvious on every page; this dictionary on historical principles is not only fascinating and immensely informative but also highly enjoyable.'
Peter Trudgill, Université de Fribourg/ University of East Anglia

'A model of dialect lexicography. Scouse has never been more thoroughly explored. A fascinating introduction to Liverpool's colourful speech. Liverpudlians will be dead chuffed to read it.'
David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Bangor, and author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (Cambridge University Press, 1995, 2003) and The Disappearing Dictionary: A Treasury of Lost English Language Dialect Words (Macmillan, 2015).

'Scouse was in many respects a truly groundbreaking work, and now he’s written another, the first scholarly dictionary of the language that has been used in Liverpool over the past century and a half. There have of course been collections of Liverpool words and phrases before, such as Fritz Spiegl’s Lern Yerself Scouse books. But Crowley’s is the first attempt at a truly comprehensive glossary, using the same methodology as the Oxford English Dictionary. For each entry the book offers a definition, an account of the origin and history of the word or expression, and examples of its use from carefully cited sources. Time and again, he notes, his dictionary offers up evidence of creativity, humour, irreverence towards authority and a carnivalesque sense of the absurd.'
Alan Gardiner, Merseysider Magazine

'No one has done more than Tony Crowley to put the study of Liverpool’s language on an academic and noncondescending footing. […] The Liverpool English Dictionary is exhaustively researched and sumptuously documented, every entry a fascinating historical and lexicographical essay in itself.'
Times Literary Supplement

'It is not only an informative read, but also fun and entertaining. To borrow a phrase from the dictionary itself: it was boss la.'Dr Paul Cooper, University of Liverpool

'This text will not only appeal to Liverpool speakers, but anyone interested in Liverpool English or regional variation in England more generally. It is an exceptionally useful text which extensively documents the lexical and grammatical features of a variety of English that has been somewhat under-researched in recent years, and where the existing research predominantly tends to focus on aspects of pronunciation. It is not only an informative read, but also fun and entertaining. To borrow a phrase from the dictionary itself: it was boss la.'
Dr Paul Cooper, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire

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