Erin McKean


Erin McKean is the founder of, the world’s biggest online dictionary. Before founding Wordnik, she was the editor-in-chief of American Dictionaries for Oxford University Press, and she holds a BA/MA in Linguistics from the University of Chicago. Her goal is to make every word in the English language “lookupable” – including the 52% of unique English words that aren’t currently in any dictionary. Erin is the author of three Weird and Wonderful Words books, the best-selling novel The Secret Lives of Dresses, and (most recently) The Hundred Dresses, a field guide to dresses. She’s written regular columns on words and language for The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal and her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, PAPER, Foreign Affairs, and Sew News. Her two TED talks have received more than two million views, and she was the host of the Discovery Channel documentary ‘The Joy of Lex’. She’s served as an advisor to the American National Corpus, the journal American Speech, the Wikimedia Foundation, and serves on the KPCB Design Council. She blogs at and tweets as @emckean. When you meet her, please tell her your favorite word.