Online dictionaries of English slang

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This paper presents a range of online dictionaries of English slang, and considers their search facilities, coverage and reliability, as well as practical factors involved in setting up and maintaining these resources. A selection of slang terms from Britain and the United States is used to explore gaps and trends in the dictionaries’ contents. The paper concludes by arguing that the best user-edited dictionaries have high editorial aspirations, and that even the worst can make a useful contribution to our knowledge of contemporary slang, which changes so quickly that a paper dictionary cannot possibly keep pace. Urban Dictionary undoubtedly has the most extensive coverage, but other sites challenge it in a number of respects.


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