Susie Dent

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Susie Dent
Susie Dent.png
Dent in 2012
Born1964 (age 57–58)
Woking, Surrey, England
OccupationLexicographer and television presenter
Known forCountdown (1992–present)

Susie Dent (born 1964)[1][2] is an English lexicographer, etymologist, and media personality. She has appeared in "Dictionary Corner" on the Channel 4 game show Countdown since 1992. She also appears on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, a post-watershed comedy version of the show presented by comedian Jimmy Carr. She has been honorary vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading since 2016.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Dent was born in Woking, Surrey.[1] She was educated at the Marist Convent in Ascot, an independent Roman Catholic day school,[4] with a term at Eton College to study for Oxbridge entrance exams.[5] She went on to Somerville College, Oxford for her BA in modern languages, then to Princeton University for her master's degree in German.[6]


Dent's first job was as a waitress.[7] When she began work on Countdown in 1992, she had just started working for the Oxford University Press on producing English dictionaries, having previously worked on bilingual dictionaries.[8]

Dent is well known as the resident lexicographer and adjudicator for the letters rounds on Channel 4's long-running game show Countdown. On each episode, she also provides a brief commentary on the origin of a particular word or phrase. Dent is the longest-serving member of the show's current on-screen team, first appearing in 1992: she has made more than 4,500 appearances.[9] Dent also works on the spin-off show 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.[10]

Dent appeared as herself in an episode of the BBC sitcom Not Going Out.[11][12]

Dent presented Channel 4 web series Susie Dent's Guide to Swearing, which explored the etymology and history of select English swear words.[13] She has also made an appearance on BBC entertainment show Would I Lie to You?.[14] In 2018, she also appeared on five episodes of the panel show House of Games hosted by Richard Osman.

In 2019, Dent launched the podcast Something Rhymes With Purple, co-hosted with Gyles Brandreth.[15]

Published books[edit]

From 2003 to 2007, Dent was the author of a series of yearly Language Reports for the Oxford University Press (OUP). The first was simply titled The Language Report, and this was followed by Larpers and Shroomers (2004); Fanboys and Overdogs (2005); The Like, Language Report for Real (2006); and The Language Report: English on the Move 2000 – 2007 (2007). The format of this publication was revised for 2008 as an A–Z collection of new and newly resurrected words. It was published in October 2008 as Words of the Year (ISBN 9780199551996).

In 2005 the same publisher issued Winning Words (ISBN 0199198748), and in 2009 What Made the Crocodile Cry? 101 questions about the English language (ISBN 0199574154). Dent's book about dialects, How to Talk Like a Local (ISBN 1905211791), was published in March 2010.

List of published books[16]
First published Title Pages Publisher
November 2003 The Language Report: The Ultimate Record of What We're Saying and How We're Saying It 151 Oxford University Press
November 2004 Larpers and Shroomers: The Language Report 174 Oxford University Press
September 2005 Winning Words 32 Oxford University Press
January 2006 Fanboys and Overdogs 163 Oxford University Press
January 2007 The Like, Language Report for Real 176 Oxford University Press
December 2007 The Language Report: English on the Move 2000–2007 166 Oxford University Press
October 2008 Words of the Year 148 Oxford University Press
November 2008 How to Talk Like a Local: From Cockney to Geordie 256 Random House
October 2009 What Made the Crocodile Cry? 101 Questions About the English Language 159 Oxford University Press
August 2012 Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Editor) 1568 John Murray Learning
November 2013 Susie Dent's Weird Words 176 Scholastic Non-Fiction
October 2017 Dent's Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain 336 John Murray
October 2020 Word Perfect: Etymological Entertainment For Every Day of the Year 419 John Murray

Personal life[edit]

Dent was married to Paul Atkins, a teacher, and has two daughters.[17] They separated in 2021.[18][better source needed]


  1. ^ a b "Susie Dent interview". Oxford voices. BBC. 2005. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  2. ^ "In Dictionary Corner with Countdown's Susie Dent, the 'dominatrix' of words". Radio Times. 8 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Honorary members". Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  4. ^ Times Educational Supplement; 1 August 2008
  5. ^ Jack Blackburn, "Tales from an Old Etonienne", The Times, 26 July 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2020
  6. ^ Oppenheimer, Jeni (8 June 2009). "Channel 4's Countdown supplies Susie Dent with 'extra ideas' via earpiece". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  7. ^ Susie Dent, 18 December 2018 episode of Countdown
  8. ^ Jessop, Miranda (13 December 2016). "Interview with Susie Dent". Essential Surrey & SW London.
  9. ^ The Countdown Page on lexicographers.
  10. ^ "8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown". Channel 4. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  11. ^ "BBC One – Not Going Out, Series 8, Hot Tub". Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  12. ^ Butcher, David. "Not Going Out – what time is it on TV? Episode 4 Series 8 cast list and preview". Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  13. ^ "Susie Dent's Guide to Swearing – All 4". Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  14. ^ "BBC One – Would I Lie to You?, Series 11, Episode 4". Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  15. ^ Khan, Introduction: Grace Dent Interviews: Coco; Parkinson, Hannah Jane (8 June 2019). "'There's no such thing as an overshare': meet the hosts of Britain's most candid podcasts". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Books by Susie Dent -". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  17. ^ Shahid, Sharnaz (14 October 2020). "Countdown's Susie Dent gives rare insight into home life with daughters". Hello!. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  18. ^ Isla Williams, "Countdown’s Susie Dent ‘splits from husband after nearly 20 years together’", Metro, 9 July 2021 Retrieved 12 April 2022

External links[edit]