Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Erin McKean  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Young Adult;

Born: 1971

-- Erin McKean on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Ms. McKean lived in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Erin McKean likes to call herself a Dictionary Evangelist. She is the founder of ''''. She was the editor in chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2e, and is the author of ''Weird and Wonderful Words'', ''More Weird and Wonderful Words'', ''Totally Weird and Wonderful Words'', and ''That's Amore'' (also about words). Her first novel, ''The Secret Lives of Dresses'', was published by GrandCentral/5Spot in February 2011. Her newest book is ''The Hundred Dresses'', a nonfiction field guide to dress archetypes was published in the summer of 2013. She recently moved from Chicago to the Bay Area, rants about dresses on her blog (A Dress A Day), and she's actually really bad at Scrabble (but surprisingly good at roller-skating).

Published Works

  • Verbatim: From the Baudy to the Sublime,..., Mariner Books, 2001
  • Weird and Wonderful Words, Oxford University Press, 2002
  • More Weird and Wonderful Words, Oxford University Press, 2003
  • Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, Oxford University Press, 2006
  • That's Amore: The Language of Love for the Lovers of Language, Walker & Company, 2007
  • The Secret Lives of Dresses, 5 Spot, 2011
  • The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time, Bloomsbury USA, 2013

Selected Titles At Your Library

Verbatim :
ISBN: 015601209X. OCLC Number:

. .

An overview of the uses and abuses of the English language from the pages of Verbatim magazine features contributions by Richard Lederer, Jesse Sheidlower, and Joe Queenan on everything from the use of language in the Bible to the components of a Britishsoccer chant.

Weird and wonderful words /
ISBN: 0195159055. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. Oxford ;. 2002.

Lists the meaning of hundreds of bizarre and unusual words and includes a guide to coining new words.

More weird and wonderful words /
ISBN: 0195170571. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. Oxford ;. 2003.

"Following the smash hit Weird and Wonderful Words, editor Erin McKean has dug deeper into forgotten corners of the dictionary, gathering both the most spectacular old and the most impressive new words. The result is more than four hundred prime specimens (with pronunciations!), defined in a conversational style, and perfect for adding to your own collection of favorites." "Guaranteed to amuse and astonish, these words will satisfy logophiles everywhere. Accompanied by quirky and witty illustrations from New Yorker cartoonist Danny Shanahan, More Weird and Wonderful Words features an essay on how to identify new weird and wonderful words, a guide to the best word websites, and an annotated bibliography of essential Oxford dictionaries."--Jacket.

Totally weird and wonderful words /
ISBN: 0195312120. OCLC Number:

Oxford University Press,. Oxford ;. 2006.

Do you know what a snollygoster is? Would you eat something called a muktuk? Do you know anyone who engages in onolatry? Impress your friends and pepper your dinner party conversations with such nuggets as gobemouche, mumpsimus, and cachinnate. You can learn about all of these bizarre and beautiful words and many more in Totally Weird and Wonderful Words. Both witty and entertaining, this new paperback brings together two best-selling compendiums to all words unique and strange, Weird and Wonderful Words and More Weird and Wonderful Words. Offering a potpourri of colorful and fascinating words compiled by noted lexicographer Erin McKean, it contains hundreds of definitions, and has been updated to include two new essays, with over 150 words new to this edition. Written in a clear and conversational style, the book contains full-page cartoon illustrations by Roz Chast and Danny Shanahan. Featuring hundreds of words guaranteed to amuse and astonish, this is a book that will appeal to logophiles everywhere. It also features a bibliography of Oxford dictionaries and a guide to creating your own unusual words correctly from Greek and Latin roots.

That's amore! :
ISBN: 0802715974. OCLC Number:

Walker Pub.,. New York :. 2007.

"Just as a rose would smell as sweet by any other name, so it is with love. Love is powerful, enduring, and magical in any language. For That's Amore! word maven Erin McKean has scoured the world looking for the most colorful and seductive expressions to honor your loved one, and among the more than forty-six languages featured in this book, you're sure to find the right thing to say!"--Jacket.

The secret lives of dresses /
ISBN: 044655572X. OCLC Number:

5 Spot,. New York :. 2011.

"A tale of a girl who finally discovers herself and finds love in her grandmother's vintage clothing store"--Provided by publisher.

The hundred dresses :
ISBN: 1608199762. OCLC Number:

Bloomsbury,. New York :. ©2013.

Presents a visual A-to-Z reference profiling iconic vintage and modern dresses, combining evocative illustrations with assessments of each depicted style, their famous wearers, and typical accessories.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)