Richard Lederer (born May 26, 1938) is an American author, speaker, and teacher best known for his books on word play and the English language and his use of oxymorons. His column, "Looking at Language", is syndicated in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States.
In 1998, he, along with Charles Harrington Elster, became founding co-hosts of the weekly radio show, A Way with Words, broadcast by KPBS, San Diego Public Radio, and heard worldwide via streaming Internet and podcast. In October, 2006, Lederer retired from A Way with Words. He continues broadcasting through regular guest appearances on several major market public and Clear-Channel commercial radio stations.
Lederer attended Haverford College as a pre-med student. He attended Harvard Law School for one year, then switched to the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Harvard University. He taught English and media at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire for 27 years, and earned a Ph.D in Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire.
He has written more than 30 books, including Anguished English, Get Thee to a Punnery, Crazy English, A Man of My Words, The Word Circus, The Miracle of Language, The Cunning Linguist, and Word Wizard, and Presidential Trivia. Known as a "verbivore", a word he coined in the early 1980s, Lederer's interests include uncovering word origins, pointing out common grammatical errors and fallacies, and exploring palindromes, anagrams, and other forms of recreational wordplay. Lederer wrote the foreword to Words at Play: Quips, Quirks and Oddities, by O.V. Michaelsen (Sterling Publishing Company, New York, 1998), and to Weather Facts and Fun (2009), a children's book on weather, co-written by Josh Judge and Kathe Cussen and published by SciArt Media. He has been elected International Punster of the Year and was the 2002 recipient of the Golden Gavel of Toastmasters International.
Lederer is a member of American Mensa and is often a featured speaker at its annual gatherings. He is a regular contributor to Mensa's monthly Bulletin, usually titling his column "Looking at Language" but occasionally devoting it to some other subject such as presidential trivia.
Lederer is the father of Howard Lederer and Annie Duke, both world-renowned poker players, and Katy Lederer, an author and poet. He lives with his wife, Simone van Egeren, in San Diego, California. They met at a Mensa Gathering.
Lederer served as the 2007 commencement speaker at Case Western Reserve University.
- Lederer, Richard. "We All Speak Movie Lines." The Internet Companion to the Mensa Bulletin March 2002