This Web site is run by Jesse Sheidlower, lexicographer and language expert.


This is the website of Jesse Sheidlower, a lexicographer. I am currently an adjunct assistant professor in the Writing program at Columbia University. I am the author of The F-Word, a detailed history of the word fuck, and the Past President of the American Dialect Society. I am also the editor of the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction. I have been an editor for Random House Dictionaries and the Oxford English Dictionary; I have been profiled on the front page of the New York Times and on 60 Minutes, and New York Magazine has named me one of the 100 smartest people in New York. I have written about language for a variety of publications, and given talks about language in many places.

When not doing language-y stuff, I moonlight as a software developer, mainly in Perl and Python, on *nix-based systems. I currently work for an academic publisher for my day job, and I have developed a number of non-public applications and a variety of public ones, including the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction and the PangramTweets bot.

I am also keenly interested in food and wine, and have written about food for Gourmet, reviewed bars for Time Out New York, and work as a bartender at a number of (usually) underground parties. I am currently the bar manager of the Threesome Tollbooth, a very small high-end cocktail bar in Brooklyn.

For more about me, you can read my About page, see links to some of my writings, or see some of my press coverage.

Previous site info

The OED Science Fiction Citations Project used to be based at This has now morphed into the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction; the original site is no longer available.

I used to be an editor in the Reference Department at Random House, and from 1996 to the time I left in 1999 I wrote a language column called "Jesse's Word of the Day," which was based at this current Web address (i.e. A book based on these columns also referred to this address in its title. After I left Random House, the column was retitled "Mavens' Word of the Day," with entries written by other editors.

Those columns remain the property of Random House, and I do not have the right to put them up on this site. The Random House Reference Department was disbanded in November 2001, but the archive of the Word of the Day site remained supported until around 2008. Since then, the WotD site has been only sporadically live; your best plan would be to find the site at The Internet Archive. In either case, unsigned entries before October 1999 were written by me; signed entries after that date were written by the named editor.