Words: joanna, n.

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THE ARRIVAL of a piano in the new house prompted a spot-check of the first new book to cross the threshold: Jonathon Green's Cassell Dictionary of Slang.

Although more expensive than the recent OUP volume, it contains 65,000 entries rather than 10,000. As for joanna, which dates from the mid-19th century, Green provides the more cogent summary (OUP gives space to a random, 1972 citation), and also includes the American term joanin' - an exchange of insults, not rhyming slang for moanin': the etymology is uncertain but there is a dialect phrase, Joan Blunt.

Naturally, one soon strays further (I need a knuller). It is a marvel: the Sussex Stationers chain is doing it at half-price (pounds 12.50), a snip - the duty-free on a day-trip to Brighton.