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|Born||1971 (age 51–52)|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago|
Erin McKean (born 1971) is an American lexicographer.
Early life and education
McKean was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA/MA in Linguistics. As an undergraduate, she worked in a junior capacity on the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. She has since served on the Visiting Committee to the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library, and she helped organize a dictionary-themed exhibit, The Meaning of Dictionaries, there in 2007.
McKean is a founder of Reverb, which makes the online dictionary Wordnik. She was previously the editor in chief of US Dictionaries for Oxford University Press and Principal Editor of The New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition. 
McKean is also the editor of VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly, and edited a collection of work from that publication, Verbatim: From the bawdy to the sublime, the best writing on language for word lovers, grammar mavens, and armchair linguists (Mariner Books, 2001). McKean's novel The Secret Lives of Dresses was a best-seller in Australia, and has been optioned for film. She writes about dresses in her blog, A Dress A Day.
She wrote frequently for "The Word" column in The Boston Globe. from 2008 through 2011 and wrote "The Week in Words" for The Wall Street Journal from 2011 through mid-2013. She has also written for The New York Times On Language column.
She was previously a member of the advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation and is an advisor to Credo Reference.
McKean's 2007 TED talk, "Redefining the Dictionary", was the genesis for the founding of Wordnik.com. She has also spoken at Pop!Tech, Mark Hurst's third annual Gel conference, and Thinking Digital, and gave a Wordnik demo at the All Things Digital D8 conference in 2010. McKean sews her own clothes and often makes "stunt dresses" for speeches, including the Tetris-themed dress she wore to speak at the Web 2.0 Summit in 2009.
In 2010, McKean was named an honorary fellow of the Society for Technical Communication.
McKean has formulated 'McKean's law', also known as Muphry's law: "Any correction of the speech or writing of others will contain at least one grammatical, spelling or typographical error."
"Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female'.", a quote from McKean's blog, A Dress A Day, has been widely shared on social media. Since the original post features a large picture of Diana Vreeland, the quote has occasionally been misattributed to her.
- Weird and Wonderful Words (illustrated by Roz Chast, with an introduction by Simon Winchester, Oxford, 2002)
- More Weird and Wonderful Words (illustrated by Danny Shanahan), Oxford, 2003)
- Totally Weird and Wonderful Words (Oxford, 2006)
- That’s Amore (Walker & Company, 2007)
- The Secret Lives of Dresses (Grand Central, 2011)
- Aftercrimes, Geoslavery, and Thermogeddon: Plus 157 More Words From a Lexicographer's Notebook (TED Books, 2011)
- The Hundred Dresses (illustrated by Donna Mehalko, Bloomsbury, 2013)
- ^ "Normblog". January 19, 2007.
- ^ "University of Chicago Magazine". October 1, 2006.
- ^ "Libra: Library Reports and Announcements" (PDF). 2006.
- ^ "The Chicago Maroon". June 1, 2007.
- ^ "Xconomy". March 12, 2013.
- ^ "New York Times, "Wordsmiths: They Also Serve Who Only Vote on 'Ain't'"". The New York Times. December 23, 2006.
- ^ Erin McKean, ed. (May 2005). The New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 2051. ISBN 0-19-517077-6.
- ^ "If.com.au". May 12, 2011. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
- ^ Caceda, Eden (February 2, 2015). "In Development". Filmink.
- ^ Chillax – If it works like a word, just use it. Boston Globe August 3, 2008
- ^ "Wall Street Journal". May 24, 2013.
- ^ McKean, Erin (December 17, 2009). "On Language: Redefining Definition". The New York Times.
- ^ Wikimedia Foundation contributors (February 26, 2009). "Advisory Board – Wikimedia Foundation". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
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- ^ "Credo Reference".
- ^ "TED blog". June 8, 2009.
- ^ "Pop!Tech". 2006.
- ^ "Erin McKean at GEL 2006". 2006.
- ^ "Erin McKean at Thinking Digital 2011". 2001.
- ^ "D8 Tech Demo: Wordnik". June 3, 2010.
- ^ "Wardrobe Wrap of the Web 2.0 Summit". October 29, 2009.
- ^ "STC Spotlight: Erin McKean, Honorary Fellow and the Summit's Keynote Speaker". The New York Times. April 9, 2010.
- ^ "A word to the wise". (August 12, 2008). The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada), pp. A14.
- ^ "Erin @ A Dress A Day".
- ^ "You don't owe prettiness to anyone". August 12, 2013.
- ^ "World Wide Words". December 14, 2002.
- ^ "How Erin McKean Sold Her Blog-Based Book". MediaBistro. November 7, 2008. Archived from the original on September 13, 2009. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
- Media related to Erin McKean at Wikimedia Commons
- McKean biography Archived January 31, 2018, at the Wayback Machine as member of the Wikimedia Advisory Board
- Erin McKean at TED
- 1971 births
- American bloggers
- American book editors
- American lexicographers
- Living people
- People from Chicago
- University of Chicago alumni
- Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board members
- Women linguists
- American women bloggers
- Women lexicographers
- 21st-century American non-fiction writers
- 21st-century American women writers