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The Find

Working Vocabulary

The new glossary explains the meaning and origins of words such as graybearding. The new glossary explains the meaning and origins of words such as graybearding. (Seth)
By Jan Gardner
September 11, 2011

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The man on the cover of “The Wage Slave’s Glossary’’ (Biblioasis) carries a briefcase and wears a ball and chain. Are those tears or drops of sweat falling away from him? No matter. Joshua Glenn and Mark Kingwell, creators of “The Idler’s Glossary,’’ offer a wry brand of enlightenment in their pocket-sized guide to the terms of paid labor. The phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses’’ sprang from a 1913 comic strip in which the Joneses never appeared. And they trace the origin of “knock off work’’ to the days when oarsmen rowed in unison and a special knock would signify a time to rest.