PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION
Throughout the history of Russia, with the exeption of a brief period around the beginning of the present century, it has been the official policy of the govenment to forbid the appearance in print of a large body of words used in the everyday speech of many Russians and known to virtually all. These words are considered too obscene for inclusion in dictionaries, even through some of them have existed in the language from its beginnings (e.g. perdet', Common slavic *perdeti, c.f. Sanscrit pardati, English 'fart'). Unfortunately, the compilers of most Russian reference works outside Russia have also deemed these words unsuitable for inclusion.
A Short Dictionary of Russian Obscenities is a modest attempt to fill this gap. It has been compiled from various lists which have circulated for some time but have not been avalable to a wide public, from Baudouin de Courtenay's edition of Tolkovyi slovar' zivogo velikorusskogo jazyka by Vl. Dal', and from material provided by several native informants.
The compilers of the present work have attempted to avoid strictly dialectal forms, but have included some archaic words. It is intended simply as a defining dictionary : those who use it for the purpose of building an active vocabulary do so at their own risk. Determining exactly how obscense a given word is frequently presented some difficulty. As a matter of prinsiple, words which are included (in their "vulgar" sense) in the four-volume Slovar' russkogo jazyka (Akademija nauk SSSR, institut jazykovedenija, Moskva, 1957-1961) are exluded.
The compilers are painfully aware of the inadequacy of this first, preliminary edition of A Short Dictionary of Russian Obscenities, but feel that it will serve a useful purpose in the absence of any equivalent work. They will be grateful for any critisizm of content or form. Indeed, it is their fervent hope that the present work will stimulate an interest in this neglected facet of Russian lexicography, which might lead to the complication of a modern and complete list of Russian obscenities.