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Slayer Slang

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon

Michael Adams

Publication Date - November 2004

ISBN: 9780195175998

320 pages
5-5/16 x 8 inches

Retail Price to Students: $19.99

Have a question about slang and youth culture? Just ask a vampire slayer


In its seven years on television, Buffy the Vampire Slayer earned critical acclaim and a massive cult following among teen viewers. One of the most distinguishing features of the show is the innovative way its writers play with language--fabricating new words, morphing existing ones, and throwing usage on its head. The result has been a strikingly resonant lexicon that reflects the power of both youth culture and television in the evolution of American slang. Using the show to illustrate how new slang is formed, transformed, and transmitted, Slayer Slang is one of those rare books that combines a serious explanation of a pop culture phenomenon with an engrossing read for Buffy fans, language mavens, and pop culture critics. Noted linguist Michael Adams offers a synopsis of the program's history, an essay on the nature and evolution of the show's language, and a detailed glossary of slayer slang, annotated with actual dialogue. Introduced by Jane Espenson, one of the show's most inventive writers (and herself a linguist), Slayer Slang offers a quintessential example of contemporary youth culture serving as a vehicle for slang.

About the Author(s)

Michael Adams teaches at Indiana University Bloomington and is the editor of Dictionaries: The Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America.


"If you're curious about the word 'ubersuck,' or just want to remember which episode you first heard it in, this is the place to look. As Buffy would say, it is not uncool."--Kansas City Star

"While we were caught up in the drama of the battles against the undead...linguist Michael Adams was concentrating on the words. Slayer Slang is a combination dictionary of slayer slang/guide to the Buffyverse/textbook. Just consider it another sign Buffy will live forever."--Sacramento Bee

"Even if you never watched the show, Slayer Slang provides major clueage about the formation of slang terms in general. Slang, after all, is where language vrooms and vibes--or, in the case of Buffy, where it vamps."--Hartford Courant

"In applying linguistic analysis to the show, Adams not only shows how brilliant and innovative the writing was but also its toggling relationship to and influences upon popular culture."--Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"Will satisfy the inner geek of a Buffy fan."--Kansas City Star