• Word by Word

  • The Secret Life of Dictionaries
  • By: Kory Stamper
  • Narrated by: Kory Stamper
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (474 ratings)

Prime logo Prime members: New to Audible?
Get 2 free audiobooks during trial.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Word by Word  By  cover art

Word by Word

By: Kory Stamper
Narrated by: Kory Stamper
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $15.75

Buy for $15.75

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's summary

Brimming with intelligence and personality, a vastly entertaining account of how dictionaries are made - a must-listen for word mavens.

While most of us might take dictionaries for granted, the process of writing them is in fact as lively and dynamic as language itself. With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper cracks open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography - from the agonizing decisions about what and how to define to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She explains why small words are the most difficult to define (have you ever tried to define is?), how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence. Throughout, Stamper brings to life the hallowed halls (and highly idiosyncratic cubicles) of Merriam-Webster, a world inhabited by quirky, erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate. A sure delight for all lovers of words, Word by Word might also quietly improve listeners' grasp and use of the English language.

©2017 Kory Stamper (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"[M]arvelous insight into the messy world behind the tidy definitions on the page...." (Bridget Thoreson, Booklist)