Oxford-based Countdown star Susie Dent receives MBE in Birthday Honour's list

PA / Susie Dent attending the BAFTA Craft Awards at the Brewery in London
Susie Dent attending the BAFTA Craft Awards at the Brewery in London, 2018. Credit: PA Images

Countdown star Susie Dent says she is “delighted” to be honoured for sharing her joy of language.

The Oxford-based lexicographer, etymologist and author, 59, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to literature and to language as part of the King’s Birthday Honours list.

For more than 30 years, Ms Dent has appeared as the resident expert in Dictionary Corner on the Channel 4 show, where she regularly checks unusual words and explains to contestants which answers would have improved their score.

Susie Dent said: “I’m thrilled by this unexpected recognition, and will celebrate it on behalf of word lovers everywhere.

“Throughout my career I’ve tried to share the joy of language and of books (above all, the dictionary!) and so I’m especially delighted to be honoured for my contribution to language and literature.

“They are the mainstays of my life, and I’ll do my very best to continue spreading the word, quite literally.”

Queen Camilla met Susie Dent during a reception after a research study commissioned by The Queen's Reading Room charity in March, 2024. Credit: PA Images

More recently, Ms Dent has been taking part in the spin-off show 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, which comedian Jimmy Carr presents, she has appeared on BBC comedy series Not Going Out and ITV entertainment show Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

She is the author of books including 2003’s The Language Report: The Ultimate Record Of What We’re Saying And How We’re Saying It, which traced the evolution of language and explained the origins of phrases such as “speed dating”.

In 2023, she wrote Roots Of Happiness: 100 Words For Joy And Hope From Britain’s Most-Loved Word Expert, which tries to find some light in language, and her latest book, Words From The Heart: An Emotional Dictionary, looks at happiness.

Ms Dent has also published a series of annual language reports for the Oxford University Press, and is a spokeswoman for the publisher.

In 2020, she was enlisted by Amazon to help its virtual assistant Alexa understand UK regional dialects by training it on hundreds of local words.

She has also toured theatres in the UK as part of her show Susie Dent: The Secret Lives Of Words.

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