Dictionary book

Why a New Dictionary for the Upper Classes is Hailed as a Sloane Ranger Handbook for Our Time

Dictionaries tend not to have a lot of humor. Maybe that’s why you never see them in the downstairs restroom of some type of house, next to a stack of outdated Giles cartoon books and guidebooks. bluffers to buy wine.

But that’s not the case with The Chin Dictionary, a collection of current words and phrases rolled out by the upper classes of modern Britain, as well as a whole collection of new words and phrases that the upper classes would be proud of. ‘to have invented if they had the spirit and the nerve of the anonymous creator of this 210-page tome.

A Chin – if you didn’t know (and, frankly, it was new to me) – is a privileged youngster, or not so young, toff who wears self-mockery as a badge of honor, knows that ‘Al Pachinos ‘means’ The godfather. Brightly colored pants’, this’ Briexit ‘means’ leave before cheese class’ and whose mother has a habit of lowering her voice when she talks about someone, even if that person is 1,000 kilometers away. .

A chin may not have brass farthing, but it’s rich beyond most people’s dreams of confidence, has an insatiable sense of humor (with a roaring high-decibel laugh) and knows exactly how to behave in any given situation.

A Chin – if you didn’t know (and, frankly, it was new to me) – is a privileged youngster, or not so young, who wears self-mockery as a badge of honor.

The Chin Dictionary describes the members of this uniquely British tribe as: “A man or woman steeped in centuries of aristocratic inbreeding, since Will the Conqueror came for a cup of tea. . . It takes a century to enter the world of the Chins, and one use of the word “toilet” to be expelled.

“If you wear shiny clothes without irony, can trace your social connections back to the paleontological era and think Meritocracy is a nightclub in Hull, welcome aboard.”

It may not sound particularly appealing in the midst of all the ‘leveling up’ talk, but, as the cover says, this dictionary is ‘an inspiration to some, a benchmark for others’.

Well, the Mail can reveal that its creator, Leo Chin (first name is Leo, last name is not Chin), is a 36-year-old, privately-educated single farmer from the New Forest in Hampshire ( with an apartment in London, obvs) who may well end up wearing a crown similar to that given to Peter York and Ann Barr for writing The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook in 1982.

Posted when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and Peter Jones in Sloane Square in London was the center of the universe for both well-heeled young debs in frilly collars and bawling men in striped shirts, The Manual was a permanent guest in the aforementioned toilets from top to bottom. the country for at least two decades.

Speaking on condition that his identity remains obscured by the social mystery, Leo says the Chin people are not snobs and repeatedly insists they have “values.” “The main one is to never make others feel bad, to never put people down and money is not a necessity – but could well be a byproduct of Chinnery,” says -he.

Life is a game, humor a weapon. You do your own satire and you lie to it.

Therefore, Free Willy is: ‘1. Heartwarming 1993 film about a captive killer whale. 2. Rolling up a kilt. ‘

Charlie Brown refers to “you don’t need a map to find Charlie’s house because there are brown road signs”, and Osama Chin Laden means “accidentally go through airport security with a shotgun cartridge” .

The chins have left their parents, who might still use the word “yonks” (as in “It’s been yonks since I smoked a cigarette”) or “rather” (“Do I think Sir James Hamilton -Stubber is beautiful? Rather! ‘).

They consider the Sloane Ranger Handbook and the days when people like Princess Diana roamed London in VW Golfs to be old school.

Even the word “toff” is banned on the planet Chin now that “tabloid newspapers and wider circles use it,” according to Leo. And “chic” came out years ago and is “now purely ironic – unless you describe a Spice Girl or one of those Wedding Portaloos with a Carrara marble backsplash”.

The Chin Directory is a self-published hardcover book that has sold just under 7,000 copies, which means it has almost reached bestseller status.

Most of those sales – and that’s an extraordinarily high conversion rate – were made through Leo’s Instagram page (Chinstagram?), Who over the past three years has amused his 23,000 followers by mocking him, finally, mainly from its 23,000 subscribers.

The dictionary went on sale in November and made a roaring trade over Christmas, with some people buying copies for all of their pandemic bubbles.

Leo says the most popular first lines on address labels are “mansion,” “castle,” “farm,” “hall,” “revicaire,” and “officers’ mess.” New York and Singapore received more orders than Wales, and Eton received more orders than Australia and New Zealand combined.

“Several customers added a title to the online checkout, even though there was no box to do so,” he says.

No one really knows where the term “Chin” came from – and Leo certainly doesn’t claim to have invented it.

We have to assume that this is an abbreviated version of ‘chinless wonder’, derived, as a dictionary puts it, from the ‘recessive chin characteristic of some aristocrats, generally thought to be caused by inbreeding and associated with intelligence. limited ”. But that doesn’t quite do the Chin dictionary justice. Because while he’s got more than a whiff of entitlement to it, he’s crisp, smart, and beautifully produced.

At the end of the book, the price is £ 9.99, but with a line followed by “Now £ 18”. And the parody continues inside the back cover with a black and white sketch of a Victorian publishing house.

Its caption reads: “Printing the first edition of the Chin Directory in 1851. One million copies sold, mostly from the Polzeath Beach ice cream van. ‘ (Polzeath is the Cornish seaside resort adored by David Cameron and the thousands of young Chins who land there for a week or two in July.)

Leo says many Americans bought the book to “rationalize the quirks of the British” and he hopes they recognize that “you are not British unless you can laugh at yourself”.

To get all the jokes out of the dictionary, you don’t need to own a rambling Queen Anne house with noisy pipes in Devon, a grouse moor in Scotland, or a ski chalet in Verbier – but it might help if you do. done.

n Visit thechindictionary.com to purchase the book (£ 18).