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Fantabulosa: Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang
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Fantabulosa: Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Polari has been the secret language of gay men and women throughout the twentieth century. But more than a language, Polari is an attitude. From the prisons and music halls of Edwardian England to Kenneth Williams, American GIs in London, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Polari has been used to laugh, bitch, gossip, and cruise. Like all slang, Polari is an ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published by Continuum Books (first published December 2002)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Mark Ward
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, my-bookshelf
Language - you never stop changing, do you? This is evident in both good and bad ways here.

The good: the dictionary of Polari, a mostly dead language used by gay men. Polari, being dead, is time-specific and this makes it good to collate (although it seems to be a little - not too much, but a little incomplete). A mix of Parlyaree, cockney rhyming slang, backwards slang and words cribbed from all over, this book features a good introduction to the the coded language made mainstream by the
...more
Sarah Tipper
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I heard about Polari while watching a programme about Kenneth Williams and it fascinated me that a secret language was used to talk about homosexuality on the radio. Over the years some of these words have become mainstream. One of my favourite words was Naff. If you ever need lots of synonyms for penis then this book will prove exceedingly useful. I read a lot of books about words and this is one of the best, funny and with just the right level of detail. ...more
Lesley Arrowsmith
Fascinating insight to a world that's almost gone, and very useful for the story I'm writing at the moment!
Bona!
Badinia
Finally, I found a book on Polari, the forgotten gay slang of the UK 60's! It's really interesting, and really funny. Did you know that when you say something is Naff, it comes from Not Available For Fucking? Yup!
Larry-bob Roberts
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
The more "pop" of Paul Baker's two books on Polari (I haven't checked out the other one.) Interesting view of British gay slang. See also the audio recordings of the radio show "Round the Horne" which both popularized Polari and killed it through allowing everyone to understand it.
Ryan
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting investigation into the origin story and secret language of words
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