Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

A clockwork orange - with glossary? (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
I like the whole idea of A clockwork orange, the violent insane work of ultra violence and all that, but I've tried to read it twice and failed due to the massive amount of slang that I just cnat get past since it annoys me to have no idea what it means.

Do any of you know if theres a version with a glossary?


omg I remember having such a problem with it when I first started reading it. I managed by just looking at the context the word was used in and going from that. Was still really jarring though.

There is nothing quite like getting killed by a giant ceramic phallus XD


Senior Member
Just dropped it back off at the library. Got about fifteen pages into it before wanting to pull my hair out. Sounds like a marvelous idea for a story, I just can't read it!

Mike C

WF Veterans
Persevere. There are various glossaries on the net, but as Burgess himself didn't write one, they're not gospel. Just read it, let the words wash over you, and it'll work for you.


Senior Member
95% of the slang in it is derived from Russian. For examples 'moloko' is the Russian word for 'milk' - 'droog' is 'friend'. I read the book years before I ever moved to Russia (don't live there now though) and when I realised the slang was Russian my vocabulary range tripled over night!

Sorry though, unless you speak Russian, it's not much help!
I burrowed it from the library a couple of months ago. There was a preface on the novel, which included what a few of the words meant, but the majority of them didn't have any glossary so I was lefting guessing what most of them meant & I was actually able to understand it when I read the rest of the sentence. It's not as difficult as I assumed it would be. It's the same as reading a word you don't know, but you read the words following, & you have a better understanding of what it means. I really don't think this book needs a glossary. The glossaries & notes at the end of novels are annoying anyway.

Sigur Rós

Senior Member
I thought the slang was fun, I tried to learn as I went. The whole peice of that was like a little game for me. And I loved it lol, but it wasn't that hard for me though.


Clockwork Orange

I think by not having the glossary, I was able to get more from the novel. I have read numerous reviews and such about A Clockwork Orange and according to most sources, Anthony Burgess did not want a glossary published with the novel. He felt that it took away from the message of the novel. I believe that that is true. With no set meanings to the slang terms, one is able to give the words meanings of their own. Your imagination can then make this book as mild or as vivid as you would like. It is almost part of Burgess's message, in that, no one can control what you think. So, if you want to think a word means something, no one can stop you from doing so. I love this book.


Senior Member
A Clockwork Orange is probably my favorite book of all time, if not tied for first, but I bet I wouldn't have liked it if I hadn't seen the movie first. The language is, without a doubt, very difficult the first time around. I would say try and watch the movie first, it's easier to understand one you've seen most of the scenes acted out. My favorite thing about the book is that every time I read it, I catch more and more of what's going on and appreaciate it more and more every time.

Mike C

WF Veterans
akgroom said:
It is almost part of Burgess's message, in that, no one can control what you think.

True. Also, it's realistic. If I, a 44 year old middle class white englishman, was put in amongst LA gang members, I'd not understand the slang. If any of you were transported back to England and met me in my teens, you wouldn't understand half of what I was saying. Would you know what was meant by "blagging a teenth" meant, for example?

What I find really interesting is that a lot of the slang of my youth has been recycled and often comes back into fashion, but with different or altered meanings.