Cheerio Tom, Dick and Harry: Despatches from the Hospice of Fading Words by Ruth Wajnryb
Wajnryb is the grammarian you always wanted: wise, wearing her erudition lightly and enlivening it with sly humour.' Kirkus ReviewsRuth Wajnryb embarks on a voyage of discovery among the words that once peppered the language of baby boomers and their parents to discover why they seem to be slipping from common use. Why is it that people don't say cheerio' any more, and, come to think of it, why did they in the first place? Do people still tinker with jalopies? And whatever happened to Tom, Dick and Harry, not to mention all those other folk who provided us with such excellent conversational shorthand? Filled with entertaining vignettes and intriguing etymology, Ruth has created an imaginary hospice that offers a caring refuge for pre-loved words that are in imminent danger of being dismissed as obs' (for obsolete') or arch' (for archaic') in English dictionaries.Written with Ruth Wajnryb's characteristic intelligence, sly wit and lan, Cheerio Tom, Dick and Harry examines the way in which our everyday language reflects and gives expression to the enormous changes that have taken place in our physical and social landscape over the last fifty years or so.