The Dickson Baseball Dictionary

The material below is for the second edition of the Dictionary. The third edition The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, came out on March 2, 2009. Check it out on Amazon or at for new reviews.

"An award-winning reference book, completely revised and updated from the first edition. The original Dickson Baseball Dictionary quickly established itself as the book to go to when you want to know in which inning The Catch was made, or needed to find out where the term "fungo" came from, or couldn't figure why Vin Scully called that last hit a "frozen rope."

"The only problem," said one reviewer, "became closing the book: once you dipped into this comprehensive, engaging, entertaining compendium of baseball knowledge, it was almost impossible to pull away."

Now the dictionary is back in a second edition more authoritative and comprehensive than ever and filled with lots of never-before-seen illustrations and photos. From 2,000 new definitions (there are 7,000 in all) to its thorough bibliography and new thesaurus of terms, The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary combines depth and historical richness with the accessibility of a reference book-something the state books, almanacs, and illustrated histories can't begin to do. This is an essential for every baseball lover's reference shelf.


"Probably the most complete guide ever compiled of the language and terminology of the 'national pastime'...An unfailing delight for the true fan"-Parade Magazine

"Anyone who loves baseball will love this book. Abundantly illustrated...Great browsing." -San Francisco Chronicle

"A book that whets your appetite as much as a ballpark hotdog." -Washington Post Book World

"A monumental job." - The late Red Barber

"A gold mine of information...sheer entertaining reading on every page." -Cincinnati Inquirer

"Delightful and informative...concise and engaging...comprehensive.... All in all, this treasure trove of information and lore shouldbe as indespensible to armchair managers, pwners, and umpires as it is to serious students of the game." -The Society of Americn baseball Researchers (SABR) Review

"Baseball is an etymologist's delight. The game coins words and phrases faster than Mark McGwire hits home runs (a.k.a. dingers, taters, round-trippers, four-baggers), and much of what begins as baseball-specific verbiage seeps into common usage. But why exactly is a high, lazy fly ball called "a can of corn," a pop-up that falls between the infield and the outfield a "Texas leaguer," a vicious curveball "Uncle Charlie," a poke that bounces off the plate a "Baltimore chop," and the minor leagues "the bushes"? Paul Dickson explains them--and about 7,000 more terms and expressions, names and events--in a wide-ranging work that's as much fun to browse through as it is specifically useful. Like its 1989 predecessor (which only sent 5,000 entries to the plate), the Dickson Baseball Dictionary arranges everything alphabetically, supplies definitions, offers examples, provides cross-references, and, most fascinating of all, traces word and phrase origins. As references go, it brings out the "lumber," looks "yard," and pretty much "touches 'em all." --Jeff Silverman,

"One would not think that a mere game, a sport, and not even a world sport at that, could be the basis for a lexicon of some 7,000 terms. Could the same be true for other games or team sports, such as soccer, which is played around the world and has a pedigree at least as old? It does not seem possible, unless languages other than English are taken into account. The game of baseball has, for various reasons, always stimulated more and better writing than rival sports. Baseball has been known as the more thoughtful of the mass sports, with writers waxing eloquent about its balletic grace, its convoluted rules, its strategies, and its lack of a time clock. The many colorful figures who have played and coached the game, and announcers such as Dizzy Dean, who made famous the word slud, only add to the mix".--Booklist

Selected Works

A dictionary of the secret language of families
The only slang dictionary arranged by topic--now substantially revised and expanded.
In our globally interconnected age, misnaming where someone is from or the cultural group to which they belong often constitutes more than a harmless social gaffe. Labels for Locals provides guidance on the preferred, and sometimes disdained, names for selected locales, cities, regions, countries, and ethnic groups worldwide.
American Fighting Words and Phrases Since the Civil War--Recommended by William Safire in his New York Times Magazine "On Language" column.
American History: narrative non-fiction
The all but forgotten but dramatic story of WWI vets from their historic march on Washington in 1932, to demand the bonus promised them for their wartime service, to the passage of the GI Bill which was their lasting legacy.
"... an old-fashioned whiz-bang: Dickson's most complicated, most rewarding book yet." -James H. Bready, The Baltimore Sun, July 6, 2003
Baseball fans young and old are certain to enjoy this book. Wes Lukowsky, Booklist
"That rarest of sports books, a valuable reference work that provides absorbing and enlightening reading." -Sports Illustrated
"Paul Dickson's indefatigable research and reportorial lucidity have given us a fascinating history of the event that forever changed our world." -Walter Cronkite
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