Kory Stamper

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Kory Stamper
Alma mater Smith College
Occupation Lexicographer, editor for Merriam-Webster
Notable work Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries (2017)
Website Harmlessdrudgery.com

Kory Stamper is a lexicographer and former associate editor for the Merriam-Webster family of dictionaries.[1] She is the author of Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries (Pantheon, 2017).

Early life[edit]

Stamper grew up in Colorado.[2] She attended Smith College, where she undertook an interdisciplinary major that involved studying Latin, Greek, Norse, Old English, and Middle English after enrolling in a course on Icelandic family sagas of the 13th and 14th centuries. She says "I loved the style, the rhythm. They're very bleak, but they have this black humor."[2]


Stamper worked in a college development office before applying for an editorial assistant position with Merriam-Webster in 1998.[2]

In addition to her editorial duties, she presents many of Merriam-Webster's "Ask the Editor" videos,[3] a series on the publisher's website and YouTube that discusses the English language, especially unusual or controversial words and usages. She undertakes speaking engagements on behalf of Merriam-Webster[4][5] and provides expert advice and response to general enquiries on language and lexicography from the public.[6] Stamper drew attention as the Associate Editor responsible for explaining the addition of the term "F-Bomb" into the dictionary.[2]

Stamper also provides lexicographical and language-related commentary for various media outlets including the Chicago Tribune[7][8][9][10][11][12] and has written on other, non-language-related topics.[13]

Word by Word[edit]

External video
Presentation by Stamper on Word by Word, March 22, 2018, C-SPAN

Stamper's first book, Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, was released by Pantheon in March 2017.[14][15][16]

Personal life[edit]

Stamper is married with two children. She lives in Collingswood, New Jersey.[2]


  1. ^ Stamper, Kory. "Kory Stamper". LinkedIn. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rubin, Daniel (August 23, 2012). "Daniel Rubin: The editor who dropped an F-bomb on Merriam-Webster". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Merriam-Webster - Ask the Editor". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  4. ^ "A Chicago Tribune article about a talk Kory Stamper gave at the Wyndham Hotel and Executive Meeting Center in Lisle". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  5. ^ "Kory Stamper Plenary Speaker Illinois Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages 2012 convention". Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  6. ^ "Examples of Stamper providing expert advice to public".
  7. ^ "Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  8. ^ Stevens, Heidi (February 15, 2012). "Word crushes". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  9. ^ "Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  10. ^ "Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  11. ^ "Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  12. ^ "Columbia News Service article published in the Chicago Tribune". Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  13. ^ "Alma Mater - an article published in www.brainchildmag.com an online parenting magazine". Archived from the original on August 24, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
  14. ^ Garber, Megan. "The Case Against the Grammar Scolds". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  15. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (2017-03-22). "A Journey Into the Merriam-Webster Word Factory". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  16. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2017-06-01.

External links[edit]