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The Evasion-English Dictionary
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The Evasion-English Dictionary

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  13 reviews
What if you fired your shrink and hired a proofreader?

More than just a dictionary of euphemisms by a young linguist, The Evasion-English Dictionary is a merciless translation of the banalities of contemporary speech. It's also scathingly funny.

For example, Balistreri asks what if you substituted the word "you" for the phrase "the relationship" in the sentence, "There seem
Paperback, 88 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Melville House
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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  64 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Sidik Fofana
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
SIX WORD REVIEW: Please, examine your use of "like".
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
A beautiful little treatise on how we avoid saying what we mean, out of "politeness." Read it some afternoon with Harry Frankfurt's On Bullshit .
Nichole Coppes
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I saw her read this years ago and she was amazing! This is one of the best little books on language out there. I laughed out loud.
Suzanne Wise
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Evasion-English Dictionary is SO smart, witty, hilarious. I love the mini-essay intros to examples of the ways in which we manipulate key seemingly throw-away words to evade the truth. Literary brainiac elegance of language with irreverence, including swear words—yum! Political & social critique via the skewering of the colloquial! Maggie Balistreri's newly expanded EED is completely original and much needed in these times in which so many—from a compulsively self-aggrandizing President ...more
Maciej Bliziński
"Actually pretty good!" :D
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: language
A brief book on how we use certain words to avoid saying what we really mean. "Dictionary" is slightly misleading since only 19 words and phrases are discussed, though the author points out an impressive ten meanings of the word like.
the relationship = you: "The relationship needed a lot of work."
I know = even though: "I just don't feel like going. I know you had your heart set on it."
Hate = have: "I hate to say I'm holding out for something better..."
It is funny because of the aut
Jun 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
You would expect this to be a cutesy gimmick book - but you'd be wrong. It's actually a fairly astute piece of pop-psychology and linguistic observation. Basically, they take common euphemisms and language tics and break down the hidden meaning behind them. For example, the ubiquitous and highly annoying "like" and "whatever" have 10 and 13 definitions respectively and reading the explanations is very illuminating. Once you see the various social maneuverings and agendas behind each of the liste ...more
Christopher Roth
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's Ambrose Bierce meets Erving Goffman! Short, but hilarious in places and well worth picking up.
Wendy Ross
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Premium..> (everything is illuminated). Worth buying.
Fucking Funny.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-not-owned
Brilliant and fun explanation of how we (mis)use words to evade their real meanings/uses!
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-tools
So, like, it's all about how we, like, use words like "like."
Melville House Publishing
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
"Maggie Balistreri takes dead aim at the Like, Whatever faction of English speakers and splatters them with her paint ball. Clear-minded grammar wins out in the end. Bravo." --Garrison Keillor
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Maggie Balistreri is a namer and taxonomist in NY. She studied information science at Pratt Institute and previously worked as a librarian at Poets House.

Maggie also publishes under the name Maude Spekes.