Allusions are a marvelous literary shorthand. A miser is a Scrooge, a strong man a Samson, a beautiful woman a modern-day Helen of Troy. From classical mythology to modern movies and TV shows, this revised and updated third edition explains the meanings of more than 2,000 allusions in use in modern English, from Abaddon to Zorro, Tartarus to Tarzan, and Rambo to Rubens. Based on an extensive reading program that has identified the most commonly used allusions, this fascinating volume includes numerous quotations to illustrate usage, drawn from sources ranging from Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens to Bridget Jones's Diary. In addition, the dictionary includes a useful thematic index, so that readers not only can look up Medea to find out how her name is used as an allusion, but also can look up the theme of "Revenge" and find, alongside Medea, entries for other figures used to allude to revenge, such as The Furies or The Count of Monte Cristo. Hailed by Library Journal as "wonderfully conceived and extraordinarily useful," this superb reference--now available in paperback--will appeal to anyone who enjoys language in all its variety. It is especially useful for students and writers.
Andrew Delahunty and Sheila Dignen are freelance lexicographers who have extensive experience compiling dictionaries.