Words

gen, n.
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The Independent Culture
ON THE face of it, Kevin Jackson's Invisible Forms explores the same territory as Anne Fadiman's recent Ex Libris. Both are neat, keenly priced hardbacks which move in and around such beguiling matters as indexes, titles, footnotes and dedications - indeed Jackson offers his to Her Majesty, something usually only accepted in such exceptional circumstances as the OED and The Times Atlas (a neat way of getting expensive books free), but to do so without asking is not illegal, "so I am in small risk of the Tower".

Along the way, he mentions gen without dwelling on it. A Second World War coining, it is either from "for the general information of all ranks" or "general intelligence" - although, in America, it also has the hint of gossip and rumour.

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