The Evasion-English Dictionary: expanded edition

The Evasion-English Dictionary: expanded edition


This expanded edition of The Evasion-English Dictionary comprises 40+ entries on common evasions and verbal camouflage including "like," "whatever," "I'm sorry if," "actually," "so," "sorry" (sorry-not-sorry), "the relationship," and "if."

“Cultural criticism takes the form of a dictionary in this slender, amusing volume.”

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"An excellent thinking tool for speakers and listeners: how not to say it and why." — Daniel Dennett

A must read for a post-factual world, the expanded edition of The Evasion-English Dictionary is an insightful road map to popular words and phrases that reveal what we really mean, despite what Richard Lederer called our “linguistic camouflage.”

With subtle wit and linguistic playfulness, Maggie Balistreri identifies 40+ slippery terms—actually, but, I don’t know, oh well, think, like, so, sorry, whatever—with pitch-perfect examples from everyday life to illustrate the ironic and ridiculous nuances of our increasingly evasive lives.


“It’s Ambrose Bierce meets Erving Goffman!” —Christopher Roth, cultural and linguistic anthropologist


"We're evasion sapiens, and Balistreri has written the ultimate field guide to our verbal droppings." —Mark Peters


“Done with such gorgeous logic and good humor that you feel the terrible urge to read bits of it out loud to those nearest and dearest to you.” —Erin McKean, lexicographer, founder of


“The brilliant writing, lucid thinking, and authentic passion in these pages make The Evasion-English Dictionary one of the most readable and incisive exposures of linguistic camouflage I have ever encountered.” —Richard Lederer, Anguished English


“Actually, pretty good!” —The Belladonna Comedy


”A stimulating collection that will sharpen your ears and stretch your mind.” —Thomas Szasz, The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary




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