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Who is Tony Thorne?

Tony Thorne - September 2016

Tony Thorne, Visiting Consultant at King’s, is engaged in ongoing research into contemporary slang, the language of subcultures, particularly of young people - and other varieties of new language including business jargon, media catchphrases and ‘lifestyle’ terms.

Tony has written, broadcast and lectured on these topics extensively in the UK and worldwide, most recently commenting on radio and TV on campaigns to ban slang, on swearing and racist language and on the misuse of language by politicians and celebrities. 

He previously wrote the ‘Last Word’ column in the Sunday Express newspaper and the ‘Yoofspeak’ column in the Times Educational Supplement and currently contributes the ‘Bizwords’ column to British Airway's Business Life magazine.

Tony is the compiler of the four successive editions of Bloomsbury’s bestselling Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, published in the USA by Pantheon Books, and in local editions in Singapore, Japan, Russia, India and China. Tony is the author of the following publications:

  • The 100 Words That Make the English, a scholarly yet entertaining collection of cultural keywords, published in 2011 by Abacus
  • Fads, Fashions & Cults, the Dictionary of Popular Culture, published by Bloomsbury
  • Shoot the Puppy, a collection of buzzwords and jargon published by Penguin.

Tony has published a number of cultural histories and textbooks and has contributed to many specialist and learners’ dictionaries and to encyclopedias of language and linguistics.


The latest edition of Tony Thorne’s Dictionary of Contemporary Slang was published by Bloomsbury in 2014. His contribution to the landmark collection Global English Slang, edited by Julie Coleman and published by Routledge, also appeared in 2014. Tony is currently updating and expanding his language databases for future publications and working on titles that will examine the sounds of English and the links between new language and national identity.

Would you like to hear more?

Tony Thorne often visits universities, schools, publishers and other groups or institutions to talk about Slang, New Language, Taboo Language and the Language of Subcultures.

Please contact Tony if you would like him to come and deliver a talk on these or similar subjects.

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