Based on the much-loved Irish Times column and written in the author’s typically witty style, The Last Word is the final work to come from the pen of the distinguished lexicographer (or so he says).
Some of these words are on the verge of extinction; many of them are dialect words. All are worthy of collection in case they soon join the words classed in dictionaries as obsolete.
Language is constantly shifting and changing. English is more susceptible to this process than most languages, drawing as it does on vast stores of loan words from other languages and dialects. For instance, linguists reckon that – at the current rate of change – British and American English could become mutually incomprehensible within a few centuries, or at least they could drift apart like Irish and Scots Gaelic so that there would be only partial comprehension between the two.
Diarmaid Ó Muirithe’s popular books, their scholarship worn with lightness and wit, are the perfect companion to this shifting world of words and language.
Diarmaid Ó Muirithe is senior lecturer emeritus in the Department of English in UCD. He is the author of many books, including Irish Words and Phrases, Irish Slang, A Dictionary of Anglo-Irish Words, Words We Use and Words We Don’t Use (Much Anymore). He was a consultant contributor to The Encyclopaedia of Ireland.