Cookies must be enabled to use this web application.

To allow this site to use cookies, use the steps that apply to your browser below. If your browser is not listed below, or if you have any questions regarding this site, please contact us.

Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • 1. Select "Internet Options" from the Tools menu.
  • 2. Click on the "Privacy" tab.
  • 3. Click the "Default" button.
  • 4. Click "OK" to save changes.
Chrome Chrome
  • 1. Click the "Spanner" icon in the top right of the browser.
  • 2. Click Options and change to the "Under the Hood" tab.
  • 3. Scroll down until you see "Cookie settings:".
  • 4. Set this to "Allow all cookies".
Firefox Firefox
  • 1. Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Options".
  • 2. Click the "Privacy" icon on the top of the window.
  • 3. Click on the "Cookies" tab.
  • 4. Check the box corresponding to "Allow sites to set Cookies.
  • 5. Click "OK" to save changes.
Opera Opera
  • 1. Click on the "Tools" menu and then click Preferences.
  • 2. Change to the Advanced tab, and to the cookie section.
  • 3. Select "Accept cookies only from the site I visit" or "Accept cookies".
  • 4. Ensure "Delete new cookies when exiting Opera" is not ticked.
  • 5. Click OK.
Netscape and Mozilla Suite Netscape and Mozilla Suite
  • 1. Select "Preferences" from the Edit menu.
  • 2. Click on the arrow next to "Privacy & Security".
  • 3. Under "Privacy & Security" select "Cookies".
  • 4. Select "Enable all cookies".
  • 5. Click "OK" to save changes.
Safari Safari
  • 1. Click on the "Cog" icon in Safari.
  • 2. Click Preferences.
  • 3. Change to the Security tab.
  • 4. Select "Only from sites I visit" or "Allow".
  • 5. Close the dialog using the cross.
Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside

Book details
  • Genre:POLITICAL SCIENCE
  • SubGenre:Reference
  • Language:English
  • Pages:289
  • eBook ISBN:9781098312909

The Talk of Washington

An Uncommon Dictionary

by C. Ronald Kimberling and Dan J. Smith View author's profile page

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available

See inside

Overview
As the subtitle of this volume suggests, The Talk of Washington is, indeed, an "uncommon dictionary." It is also an unconventional dictionary, somewhat irreverent at times and certainly distanced in perspective from the Washington Insider who tends to look at the rest of us from the wrong end of the telescope. Irreverent though it may be, The Talk of Washington is a useful reference work for our time, one that provides a richly-hued snapshot of political life during the Reagan years. The book should appeal to multiple audiences: Washington Insiders and Real People, power-brokers and journalists, government employees and those in the private sector, scholars and diplomats, novelists and social activists.
Description

For the better part of a decade, the authors were part of the Washington scene, as a White House senior policy adviser, Assistant Education Secretary, consultant to Federal agencies, and commissioner of a leading international grant-making agency. They became more aware than ever of the need for a straightforward guide to the language of power, a tool to provide access to the terminology used every day inside the Beltway. The aim of The Talk of Washington was to be comprehensive but not exhaustive. In selecting the 1,500 terms for this volume's word list, the authors eliminated hundreds of potential entries on the grounds that some words and phrases were either too specialized or too common or were available in other special dictionaries. They created a balanced selection that would enable readers to explore the worlds of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. There is jargon used by the foreign affairs and military establishments as well as the domestic agency bureaucracies. To reveal the totality of the Capital scene, the book includes terms used by lobbyists and the media. Finally, in a category that presented difficult selection challenges, the authors chose to "flavor" their lexicographic stew with some spicy slang drawn from ordinary Beltway speech, in cases where a term has become a key part of the D.C. vocabulary or else has been especially adapted to the linguistic conventions of power. Another factor influencing these selections was the belief that an open discussion of prejudices is the best way of getting rid of them. How authoritative is The Talk of Washington? Where appropriate, the authors relied on the advice of Washington-based professionals in economics, diplomacy, regulation, law, national security, and other fields in validating terms so they could employ the soundest information available. Ultimately, they listened to and read the lexicon of those in authority, in and out of government, and allowed their language to be their measure. In reading The Talk of Washington, you will find that most of the 1,500 terms on the word list fall into one of five broad categories. First, there are the abundant acronyms, the alphabet soup of Federal agencies, including familiar ones -- C.IA., F.B.I., FED, -- and the not-so-familiar but still important: FEMA, G.O.J., N.SA., O.E.O.B., U.S.G. From inside these and other agencies pour out the formal language of Federal power, what we call technical talk: appropriation, balance of payments, comparable worth, hardened, insurgency, passback, rescission, sole source, and supergrade. Less formal are the many slang terms or Washingtonese, unofficial and often odd-sounding words and phrases heard virtually nowhere else: ballistic, borked, bum bag, murder board, rollout, short list, spin doctor, zero-out -- terms whose very usage helps define who is and is not a Washington Insider. Then, there are the ever-present euphemisms, tepid bureaucratic substitutions for the plain truth, where vague and often innocent sounding words disguise a more blunt appraisal: ambitious, building a record, cleaning house, courageous, full and frank discussion, least less developed countries, and mental health day. Lastly, there is the eerie category of common words with new and unexpected meanings, terms that people outside the Beltway could scarcely imagine would be used in such ways.

About the author

Dr. C. Ronald Kimberling has served as president of four colleges and universities in a distinguished career spanning five decades. He was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 as the youngest-ever Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education. Currently a Research Fellow for The Independent Institute and frequent contributor to The Hill, Dr. Kimberling has written extensively on the subject of education. He holds three masters degrees, a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern California, and five honorary doctorates.  The biography of Dr. Kimberling's co-author, the late Dan J. Smith, appears in the book.

Thanks for submitting a review!

Your review will need to be approved by the author before being posted.

See Inside
Front Cover

Loading book cover...

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available
Session Expiration WarningYour session is due to expire.

Your online session is due to expire shortly.
Would you like to extend your session and remain logged in?

Session Expired

Your session has expired.We're sorry, but your online session has expired.
Please log back into your account to continue.

This site uses cookies. Continuing to use this site without changing your cookie settings means that you consent to those cookies to enhance site navigation and the overall user experience. Learn more about our privacy policy or learn more about how to turn off cookies.