Jesse Sheidlower

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Jesse Sheidlower
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Jesse Sheidlower (born August 5, 1968)[1] is an author and editor specializing in English and lexicography. From 1999 until 2005 he was Principal North American Editor at the Oxford English Dictionary; then he was editor-at-large focusing on North American usage.[2] He left the OED in 2013.


Sheidlower attended the University of Chicago; he was interested in astrophysics as a child, and initially intended to major in science, but switched to classics and English. His undergraduate degree is in English.[3][4]

Although not a computer programmer by training, Sheidlower introduced Perl to the North American offices of Oxford University Press and developed tools for data manipulation when no programmers were available.[5] He is also one of the core developers of Catalyst, a popular Perl web development framework.

From 1996 to 1999 Sheidlower worked for Random House as a senior editor,[6][7] and initiated and conducted their "Word of the Day" internet page, answering questions about lexicography.[4][6] He was hired by the Oxford English Dictionary in 1999 to manage their newly opened North American Office, based in Old Saybrook, in Connecticut,[8] and left the OED in 2013.[7] While at the OED he managed the Science Fiction Citations project, an programme to capture citations of science fiction words such as "alien", "robot", and "cyberspace". The project began in 2001 and was hosted at Sheidlower's personal website.[9]

Sheidlower is an expert amateur cook and collects both cookbooks and bar paraphernalia.[10][11] He is one of the two proprietors of the Threesome Tollbooth, a cocktail bar in Williamsburg, New York, which is only large enough for the bartender and two guests. The bar was created by Sheidlower's co-proprietor, N.D. Austin, as a commissioned experience for a customer, and began operating as a bar in early 2017.[11][12]


Between April 1996 and May 1997 Sheidlower wrote a column for Esquire magazine.[13] He has also written for the The New Yorker, The New York Times and the New York Times Book Review, Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, and Slate.[14]


  1. ^ St. Augustine'
  2. ^ OED Former Staff Page
  3. ^ University of Chicago Magazine article
  4. ^ a b c d Scott (2000).
  5. ^ Perl Enters The Oxford English Dictionary
  6. ^ a b "Jesse's Word of the Day". 1998-01-21. Archived from the original on 1998-01-21. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  7. ^ a b "Jesse Sheidlower". Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  8. ^ "Hot Type". Chronicle of Higher Education: A24. October 8, 1999.
  9. ^ Prucher (2007), pp. ix, xv.
  10. ^ Hayes (2007).
  11. ^ a b Goldfield, Hannah (October 12, 2017). "The Top-Secret New York Bar That's Only Big Enough for Two Customers". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  12. ^ Buchanan, Matt (November 10, 2017). "Definitely Don't Go to Threesome Tollbooth, Not at All". Eater NY. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  13. ^ "Welcome to the Complete Esquire Archive". Esquire | The Complete Archive. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  14. ^ Sheidlower, Jesse (2020). "Jesse Sheidlower: Writing". Retrieved August 20, 2020.


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