Kory Stamper

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Kory Stamper, circa 2017.

Kory Stamper is a lexicographer and former associate editor for the Merriam-Webster family of dictionaries and author of Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. Stamper was raised in Colorado and attended Smith College, where she studied numerous dead languages including Latin, Greek, Norse, Old English, and Middle English. She was hired at Merriam-Webster in 1998.


The first time I saw Kory Stamper was in a video of hers I saw in July of 2010 where she explained the plural form of octopus, which I loved. I had forgotten about her until 2020 when I read her book. Not registering that it was the same woman from the video, I was enticed to read her book Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries from its title alone and thoroughly enjoyed it. While reviewing her book for me site, I found videos of her, and something must have triggered the old memory in my brain because it made me think of her octopus video from ten years earlier. The video has since been taken offline, but I wisely made a copy and was able to rewatch it. I admire her love of words and like her reading style.



TED Lecture.
How we define English words.
Big Think - Prescriptivism vs. Descriptivism.
Big Think - Bitch.
Big Think - Words with no English equivalent.
Favorite words.
Plural animal forms.
Try to vs. try and.
10 most searched words of 2012.
I before e.
Slang words.
Reign vs. Rein.
Practical lexicography lecture.