I got my start in lexicography at the age of eleven or so, when I contributed one definition (for gargoyle) to the glossary for an encyclopedia of architecture which my mother was involved in.

In 2006, when I heard through a friend of a friend that an editorial position was opening up at the American Heritage Dictionary, I happily quit my Ph.D. program to take that job.

In my years at the AHD, first as Assistant Editor, then as Associate Editor, Editor, and finally Senior Editor, I was the dictionary's chief editor for most of the humanities disciplines--literature, art, music, drama, history, and religion. I rewrote the dictionary's entries for Jesus and Muhammad as well as for more mundane words such as hope, chair, mug, and bejesus. I did most of the work compiling the American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary and served as the project editor for new editions of the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms and Webster's New World Robert's Rules of Order.

At the moment I'm putting the finishing touches on a three-year labor of love: a 500,000-word, 700-page dictionary of every word Jane Austen used in her novels, defined in the senses in which she used them and illustrated with quotations from the novels themselves. I'm starting to look for a publisher, and I hope to have a completed book available to the public within a year or so.