Susie Dent: Countdown presenter celebrates 30 years since joining Dictionary Corner - where is she now?

Susie Dent celebrates 30 years on Countdown’s Dictionary Corner, ‘the very best gig on British television’

Britain’s best-known lexicographer, (how many can you name) Susie Dent, marks 30 years since she first joined Countdown today (29 June).

The language expert has become as much a part of the Channel 4 show as the ticking clock itself, and three decades in 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 is everything you need to know:

Susie Dent celebrates 30 years on Countdown

Who is Susie Dent?

Susie Dent is a lexicographer and etymologist, an expert on the origins and meanings of words in the English language.

She was born in Surrey in 1964 and studied modern languages at Oxford University and completed a master’s degree in German at the Ivy League Princeton University in New Jersey.

Before her time on Countdown, Dent worked as a waitress and later produced dictionaries for Oxford University Press.

Over her career she has written 13 books on words and language - the latest, published in 2020, was called Word Perfect: Etymological Entertainment For Every Day of the Year.

Susie Dent on Celebrity Countdown with Jo Brand

She has appeared as a fictionalised version of herself in the British sitcoms Meet the Richardsons, alongside Cats does Countdown co-star Jon Richardson,  and Not Going Out, with Lee Mack.

Dent has appeared on the panel shows Would I Lie to You?, House of Games, The Last Leg, and Hypothetical.

Her quiz show appearances include Celebrity Chase, Pointless Celebrities, and The Wheel.

She also wrote and presented Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing, and has co-hosted the language podcast Something Rhymes with Purple, with Gyles Brandreth since 2019.

Dent often shares her Word of the Day on Twitter, on some occasions 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 up in 2021.

When did she start on Countdown?

Susie Dent first appeared on Countdown in Dictionary Corner on 29 June 1992, three decades ago.

She has appeared on over 4,800 episodes of Countdown, more than anyone else, including Carol Vorderman, Rachel Riley, and original host Richard Whiteley.

In a column in the Mail Online, Dent said: “If anyone had told me then that I’d be occupying the same seat 30 years later, I’d have thought them utterly bonkers.

“Yet, here I am, still loving what is surely the very best gig on British television — and still feeling the adrenaline every time the clock starts ticking down.”

Susie Dent with Jimmy Carr and Rachel Riley on 8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown

She has 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 the spin-off show 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

On 27 June Dent tweeted:: Always happy in the Corner: I can’t quite believe it’s been 30 years. Thank you ⁦@C4Countdown⁩ for having me.

What is Susie Dent’s role on Countdown?

Dent has been a resident of Dictionary Corner since she first started on the show.

She adjudicated whether words chosen by the show’s contestants are valid, and will also suggest longer words that could have been made from the letters board.

She will also explain the origins of particularly obscure words or phrases.

Where is Susie Dent now?

Dent lives in Oxfordshire with her daughters, but still regularly visits her hometown of Woking, Surrey.

She previously said that when she is not filming, she spends a lot of her 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 her Word of the Day tweets as a way of making a dig at unfavourable politicians.

On 20 January 2021, the day that Joe Biden became President and Donald Trump formally left office, Dent tweeted: “Word of the day is ‘exsibilate’ (17th century): to hiss a poor performer off the stage.”

On 13 April this year, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie, and chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined for breaching lockdown rules, Dent tweeted: “Word of the day is ‘maw-worm’ (19th century): one who insists that they have done nothing wrong, despite evidence to the contrary.”

Dent’s latest Word of the Day, posted on 24 June, the day after the Conservatives lost two by-elections, was: “‘stiffrump’ (18th century): a highly obstinate individual who refuses to budge.”

Dent gave up on subtlety a long time ago.