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March 19, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE CONGRESS DICTIONARY: The Ways and Meanings of Capitol Hill by Paul Dickson and Paul Clancy (Wiley: $19.95; 400 pp., illustrated, paperback original). As the debate over the role of Congress intensifies, Dickson and Clancy offer definitions and, in some cases, etymologies of phrases that are regularly bandied about, including pork barrel, sunset law and trimmer. Illustrated with old political cartoons and stills from films set in Washington, this useful book would be more interesting if the authors had included more word origins.

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