Susie Dent celebrates 30 years on Countdown Dictionary Corner
Susie Dent turns 30 in Countdown’s Dictionary Corner, ‘British TV’s finest gig’
Britain’s best-known lexicographer, (what can you name) Susie Dent, is celebrating 30 years since she first joined Countdown today (June 29).
The language expert has become as much a part of the Channel 4 show as the clock itself, and three decades later she still has plenty of obscure words up her sleeve.
Who is Susie Dent, what else has she been in and what is her word of the day? Here’s everything you need to know:
Who is Susie Dent?
Susie Dent is a lexicographer and etymologist, specializing in the origins and meanings of words in English.
She was born in Surrey in 1964 and studied Modern Languages at Oxford University and earned an MA in German at Ivy League Princeton University in New Jersey.
Prior to her stint on Countdown, Dent worked as a waitress and later produced dictionaries for Oxford University Press.
During her career, she has written 13 books on words and language – the latest, published in 2020, was titled Word Perfect: Etymological Entertainment For Every Day of the Year.
She appeared as a fictionalized version of herself on the British sitcoms Meet the Richardsons, alongside Cats do Countdown co-star Jon Richardson, and Not Going Out, starring Lee Mack.
Dent has appeared on panel shows Will I Lie to You?, House of Games, The Last Leg and Hypothetical.
His quiz appearances include Celebrity Chase, Pointless Celebrities and The Wheel.
She also wrote and presented Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing, and co-hosted the language podcast Something Rhymes with Purple, with Gyles Brandreth since 2019.
Dent often shares his word of the day on Twitter, sometimes using it as an opportunity to comment on contemporary issues.
Dent was married to teach Paul Atkins for 20 years and the couple had two daughters together before splitting in 2021.
When did she start the countdown?
Susie Dent first appeared on Countdown in Dictionary Corner on June 29, 1992, three decades ago.
She’s appeared in over 4,800 episodes of Countdown, more than anyone, including Carol Vorderman, Rachel Riley and original host Richard Whiteley.
In a column in the Mail Online, Dent said: “If someone had told me then that I would be in the same seat 30 years later, I would have thought him completely nuts.
“Yet here I am, still enjoying what is surely the best gig on British TV – and still getting the adrenaline pumping every time the clock starts ticking.”
She worked alongside six different hosts during her time on the show – Richard Whiteley,. Des Lynam, Des O’Connor, Jeff Stelling, Nick Hewer and Anne Robinson, as well as Jimmy Carr on spin-off show 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
On June 27, Dent tweeted: Always happy in the Corner: Can’t believe it’s been 30 years. Thanks @C4Countdown for inviting me.
What is Susie Dent’s role in Countdown?
Dent has been a resident of Dictionary Corner since her debut on the show.
She judged whether the words chosen by the show’s contestants were valid and will also suggest longer words that could have been made from the letter board.
She will also explain the origin of particularly obscure words or phrases.
Where is Susie Dent now?
Dent lives in Oxfordshire with her daughters, but still travels regularly to her home town of Woking, Surrey.
She previously said that when she wasn’t filming, she spent a lot of time at home living in her head.
Dent will continue to appear on Countdown for the foreseeable future, although host Anne Robsinson will be replaced by Colin Murray for the new series.
What is Susie Dent’s word of the day?
Dent has often used his Word of the Day tweets as a means of digging into unfavorable politicians.
On Jan. 20, 2021, the day Joe Biden became president and Donald Trump officially left office, Dent tweeted, “Word of the day is ‘exsibilate’ (17th century): whistling a bad performer off stage.
On April 13 this year, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined for breaking lockdown rules, Dent tweeted: they did nothing wrong, despite evidence to the contrary.
Dent’s last word of the day, published on June 24, the day after the Conservatives lost two by-elections, was: “’stiffrump’ (18th century): a very stubborn individual who refuses to budge.
Dent gave up subtlety a long time ago.