A selection of my work. Remember that as far as I am concerned, most of this is pretty trivial; the important thing is my contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary. This page is still in progress.


  • The F-Word, 3rd ed., 2009. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Extremely heavy revision of 1999 edition.
  • The F-Word, 2nd ed., 1999. New York: Random House.
    Thorough revision of the 1995 edition.
  • Jesse's Word of the Day, 1998. New York: Random House.
    Compilation of columns written for the Q-and-A Jesse's Word of the Day website (formerly part of the Random House site, now no longer maintained).
  • The F-Word, 1995. New York: Random House.
    Historical glossary of the word fuck.

Popular writing

  • Various articles in Slate, 2004–
  • NPR Broadcasts. OK, not "writing" technically. Various interviews and essays on All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and other shows.
  • The Case for Profanity in Print, The New York Times (Op-Ed), 31 March, 2014.
  • The Case of the Missing O.E.D. Words, The New Yorker (Culture Desk blog), 28 November, 2012.
  • Noah Webster, Founding Father. (Review of Joshua Kendall's The Forgotten Founding Father), in New York Times Book Review May 29, 2011.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad, in Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families, ed. John Donohue, Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2011.
  • An Enduring Curse, Playboy, January, 2011.
  • "Punctuation", in The Enlightened Bracketologist, ed. Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir, New York: Bloomsbury, 2007.
  • Defining Moment, Bookforum, October/November, 2005. Review of several books relating to Johnson's Dictionary.
  • Confronting 'NOO-kyuh-luhr' Proliferation, New York Times, 13 June, 2002.
  • Citations, New York Times, 9 September, 2001.
  • What Is, and Isn't, In a Word, New York Times, 4 March, 2001.
  • The Lexicographer's Apprentice, Lingua Franca December–January 2001.
  • (Introduction to) The Lexicon, by William F. Buckley, Jr., New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998.
  • Revising The F-Word, Harper's, November 1998.
  • Elegant Variations and All That, The Atlantic Monthly December, 1996. Extensive review of Robert Burchfield's revision of Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage.
  • The Word Man, Esquire, various dates in 1996. Horrible.

Scholarly publications

  • How Quotation Paragraphs in Historical Dictionaries Work: _The Oxford English Dictionary_, in Contours of English and English Language Studies, ed. Anne Curzan and Michael Adams, Univ. Michigan Press, 2011.
  • (Review of) Chambers Slang Dictionary by Jonathon Green, Dictionaries Vol. 31, 2010.
  • American Lexicography, in Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed., 2005. With Patrick Hanks. Extensive history of American lexicography.
  • (Review of) Programming for Linguists: Perl for Language Researchers, Journal of English Lingusitics, Vol. 31, No. 3 (September 2003).
  • The OED's North American Editorial Unit, English Today, October, 2002. Introduction to the unit and what we do.
  • (Review of) The Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series, Volume III, Dictionaries Vol. 20, 2000. (Written and submitted before I came to OED.)
  • Principles for the Inclusion of New Words in College Dictionaries, Dictionaries Vol. 16, 1995.
  • A Recent Coinage (Not!), American Speech Vol. 68 No. 2 (Summer 1993).

Academic presentations

  • Errors and Running Backs: Sports Terms and the Treatment of Technical Vocabulary in Dictionaries, SECOL 78, Callaway Gardens, Georgia, 2011 (invited plenary presentation).
  • Google Books and the Digital Transformation of Historical Lexicography (with Ben Zimmer), Google Books library partners conference, Mountain View, 2010 (invited keynote presentation).
  • North American Sports Terms in OED3, International Conference on Historical Lexicography and Lexicology 5, Oxford, 2010.
  • Dictionaries, the OED, and its Quotations, Great Writing, 2009, Bangor University (invited keynote presentation).
  • Implicit and Explicit Definitions of "Slang" in Black-Oriented Dictionaries, Dictionary Society of North America conference, 2009.
  • The Next 150 Years of the OED, Modern Language Association conference (Lexicography Discussion Group), 2007.
  • The Quotation Paragraph in Historical Lexicography, Dictionary Society of North America conference, 2007.
  • A Discussion of the Problems and Possibilities of Language in Internationalizing Liberal Education, Liberal Arts Education in America and the World conference, American Conference of Academic Deans/Phi Beta Kappa, 2005 (invited plenary lecture).
  • Slang in Black-Oriented Dictionaries, Dictionary Society of North America conference, 2005. (Not delivered due to illness.)
  • Electronic Databases and the Future of Historical Lexicography, Readex Digital Institute, 2004.
  • George W. Matsell's Vocabulum: Or, the Rogue's Lexicon: A Reappraisal, Dictionary Society of North America conference, 2003.
  • George W. Matsell's Vocabulum: Or, the Rogue's Lexicon, Joseph Schick Lecture, Indiana State University, 2003.
  • The OED and the History of Science Fiction Vocabulary, Studies in the History of the English Language II conference, 2002.
  • The Future of American Slang in the Oxford English Dictionary, 17th Annual Peter Tamony Memorial Lecture, University of Missouri, 2002.
  • Why Dictionary Editors Make the Decisions They Do, Dictionary Society of North America conference, 1999.
  • New Words in College Dictionaries, Dictionary Society of North America conference, 1995.
  • "Date" in College Dictionaries, Dictionary Society of North America conference, 1995.
  • The Use of CD-ROMs for Citation Gathering, Modern Language Association conference (Lexicography Discussion Group), 1993. is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.