Kory Stamper Lightens Hair!

Kory StamperFor those of you soulless masses who lead unimaginably boring lives, I will explain that Kory Stamper is an editor at Merriam-Webster. I have a terrible crush on her as well as her two colleagues at the dictionary company: Associate Editor Emily Brewster and Editor-At-Large Peter Sokolowski. How do I know about these people? Well, I might know Mr. Sokolowski because of his mention in a recent NPR article about the top ten words of the year. And I might know Ms. Brewster from her “Minced Words” column at CookThink. And I might have known about Ms. Stamper because she has her own fan club on Facebook. But I only found out about these things because I find myself on the Merriam-Webster website several times per day, and each of these editors is featured in short videos about word-related issues. I would embed one for you, but alas, Merriam-Webster is still living in 2001 in many ways.

I have reflected on the fact that Kory Stamper has her own fan club (with 179 members, no less), while I have found no fan clubs for the other editors. In a general sense, Stamper is cute—a descriptor that I doubt she, or any intellectual would be terrible happy with. This is not to say that Brewster and Sokolowski aren’t also attractive; I doubt they would have been chosen to make the videos if they looked more like, say, me. Stamper also appears to be the youngest of the three and we all know how much we love youth. But I don’t think either of these are the main issue. The truth is that Stamper is, for reasons that are not at all clear to me, very real on camera. I get the impression that she is talking to me and not a camera. And thus, I think that a lot of people feel they really connect to her—even though they don’t, any more than they do with Peter Sokolowski and Emily Brewster.

Having said this, I find that I am very disturbed about what Stamper has done to her hair. Throughout our relationship, she has always looked like this:

Kory Stamper: Before

And then—suddenly, without any warning—she lightens her hair! Here she is now:

Kory Stamper: After

I shouldn’t care—I know. But hey, what’s going on here? There is so little stability in life. Is it really asking so much for the Merriam-Webster editors to ossify their appearances? Next thing you know, Sokolowski will grow a beard—going for that Shel Silverstein look, and Brewster will start wearing contact lenses, for whatever reason someone would do that. And I know how this all ends: just when I get used to Stamper’s new hair color, she’ll change it back. Thanks Kory! I really needed that!


For those men and women pining away for Kory Stamper, I feel as a public service I must tell you that as of 2006 she was married to a man who is the very definition of cool: a jazz musician. I’m not sure of the etymology of “cool” used in this way—undoubtedly Ms. Stamper could help in this matter—but I always think of Miles Davis with Birth of the Cool and Kind of Blue as what defines “cool.” She also has two children.

I know all of this because of an article that she wrote for Knitty called Extreme knitting: 2 socks in 1. She also wrote a blog called Harmless Drudge: abusing of God’s patience and the King’s English, which she discontinued in early 2007. I have two things to say on this matter. First: she doesn’t seem to follow The Chicago Manual of Style or even Fowler for her titles—most disappointing, but forgivable. Second: I believe our own Andrea English has a better site for such matters—Needlecrafter.com—which she too has abandoned (as of late 2008). Of course, I’m not very clear on the differences between all these different needle-crafty sorts of things. I’ve been meaning to research it and write an article here. Soon perhaps. But in the mean time, I did explain how a sewing machine works.

Update: It’s Not Just Kory

I noticed that one person recently made it to this page by searching Google for, “Emily Brewster and Kory Stamper are hot.” Does this mean we will soon see an “Emily Brewster Fan Club” on Facebook? Let me know if this happens. In the mean time, I will be watching for anyone searching for, “Peter Sokolowski is hot.”

More Stamper! More Brewster!

Want to know more about Kory Stamper, Emily Brewster, and the whole Merriam-Webster crowd? Then you are in luck (and in need of a proper life). Here are some other articles that may interest you.

31 thoughts on “Kory Stamper Lightens Hair!

  1. Shocking indeed. You should e-mail her and let her know that you’d appreciate a heads-up the next time she is going to do something radical to her hair ;).

  2. Well, of course! The problem is, with her 179 fans on Facebook, how am I to be heard above the, well, herd? I suppose I could write a whole article about her change in hair color… Wait, I already did that. Take THAT Kory Stamper Fan Club!

  3. Sorry for the love lost. Happens to the best of us. Chances are though, if you had have been able to satisfy the needs of your crush, had managed to meet her in person, sweep her off of her dainty, editorial feet, whisked her away for a moonlight honeymoon, and lived happily ever after… Well, the hair thing would probably just as effortlessly, brought your dream-team romance to an all too early, earth shattering end.
    Shame, but alas, I think, stangely true.

  4. Hmm… Either you missed the tone of my article or I the tone of your comment. Anyway, are you suggesting that I would fall in love with a knitter!? ;-)

    Update: It was me. I missed *your* tone. But I *don’t* have a crush on Kory Stamper. I don’t! I don’t! I don’t! (Me thinks!)

  5. I have taken to leaving what appear to be actual human-created comments while removing their website links if they are clearly spam. Regarding Craig above, his website links to some kind of porn/adult services page. Not acceptable. But his email address looks valid if you want to email him.

  6. according to the xmas vs. christmas video, she is now an editor and not just an associate editor. how cool is that.

  7. Thanks for the update Francois! I’m skeptical, however. She says, "I’m Kory Stamper, an editor at Merriam-Webster." Is she just speaking loosely or has she been promoted. I am looking into it. Thanks for this late breaking information!

  8. Back in 2007, Ms. Stamper published an article in *Brain Child: The Magazine of Thinking Mothers* called Alma Mater. In the "About the Author" it states, "KORY STAMPER is an editor with Merriam-Webster, Inc…" Since she was most definitely *not* a full editor (whatever that might mean at Merriam-Webster) in 2007, I think the statement made in the X-Mas video is probably wrong. If I get more information, I will post it here.

  9. Frank, thanks for the link to Kory’s article in Brainchild. She’s not only a video superstar in my book but she writes well also! The first time I saw one of her videos on the M-W website I thought to myself: I bet there are lots of people (other than me!) who thinks she’s tres cute/hot. Sure enough, one of the first Google hits for her was something like "Kory Stamper is hot!" I join you in yearning after her, magenta hair notwithstanding (or because of it?)

  10. Yes, she is an excellent writer. She is also very popular. Just today, 17 people visited this site after searching for "Kory Stamper" on Google–that’s not counting things like "Kory Stamper is hot." (This article is the number one result of a "Kory Stamper" search on Google). This is remarkable because this is (currently) a small site. I get about 100 visitors per day.

    It is not just Kory Stamper, however; I get almost as many visitors from people looking for Emily Brewster (who is a cook, which makes her all the most interesting). Thus far, however, no one has come to this page via Peter Sokolowski. I thus assume that I am getting a lot of lonely guys visiting.

    I would like to point out that I don’t really have a crush on Ms. Stamper; I have kind of a general crush on all grammarians. But I must admit, Kory Stamper does have a very appealing manner, even if Emily Brewster is more my type.

  11. I have to agree, the two gals are both attractive. HOWEVER, I find the way that Sokolowski’s eyes work to be kind of disturbing – in one of the "Ask the Editor" videos, he DOESN’T BLINK! Not once! It’s freaky. I even submitted feedback about it, I was so weirded out.

  12. Felderburg: you’ve given me something new to feel insecure about. I recently took an eye exam and the optometrist noted that I didn’t blink at all during the automated part of the exam. Now I’ll be worrying if I’m blinking enough when I talk to someone. Thanks a lot!

  13. Up front, I need to say that most of us recognize the drawbacks of referring to someone based on their physical attributes is often considered as base, demeaning and even offensive depending on context. I intend no disrespect by anything written here.

    Wow. So I’m not alone… this is good. I first noticed Kory Stamper with her "I before E" video for Merriam Webster (the contents of which I have now pretty much committed to memory). Her allure, as you mentioned, goes well beyond a purely visual charm: her presentation and natural speaking style do lend a "she talking to ME" appeal. But I have noticed a progressive change in her appearance, and I’ve not had an opportunity to phrase a theory until now.

    The raw intellect and skill essential for presenting these videos are not apparent to someone who has not viewed the videos individually. From the standpoint of that person, having only access to the sequence of link-pictures for the videos themselves, I offer this observation: In the very first M-W video (“I before E”) Kory’s hair is nicely tied back and she is wearing tasteful glasses… a look akin to the prototypical “hot librarian”. In my mind, this would likely be how we’d find Ms. Stamper on any given day, at the grocery, the park, a bookstore or at work, essentially being herself. In “Defenestration” and “Slang” we see her hair still up, but she has lost her glasses. My personal insight and theory say simply that Merriam-Webster was getting some positive feedback about Kory’s popularity, so to mediate the conundrum of what to do with a potential internet celebrity and to avoid an attention disparity between co-editors, they worked to begin minimizing the “hotness” factor. This is supported by the fact that from “Hat-trick” to “Christmas” her hair is left more plain, not the more “refined” tied-back styling.

    Whether these differences are intentional or accidental does not matter, aside from the fact that there does seem to be a trend, real or imagined.

    Rightfully, one should first and foremost acknowledge and appreciate the high-degree of learning and professionalism required to become an Editor or Associate Editor with M-W in the first place, and beyond that there is the ability to find a comfortable, effective delivery for potentially complex material in terms everyone can understand, which is no simple matter in itself. I applaud Ms. Stamper, Ms. Brewster and Mr. Sokolowski for their works well done individually and as a team, and I hope to continue seeing their good works online. It would be an honor and a pleasure to meet any of the three, as I perceive a fun-loving attitude in them all.

    With all that being said, I go now in search of Kory’s Fan Club, for yes – I am a fan.

  14. Although I got to this site just typing Kory Stamper, I do think she is hot. I too am glad I am not the only one (although I’m not sure why that matters). I figured I would just get a site with a random bio, but was pleasantly surprised to see how much there is on her out on the internets. Personally I like the change in hair color (although I think much of it is probably due to better lighting). I think part of her mystique is that she has that ‘real’ quality, and part of that is that she has this defiant red hair swath that seems to buck what my convention of a grammarian would wear. She is like the punk rock smart chick. I like that combo. Rocker librarian? Also, for me, the way her mouth moves asymmetrically when she talks is appealing. Can’t say why, but Drew Barrymore also has the same thing.
    As for Peter Sokolowski, the non blinking doesn’t bother me (because it is obvious he is reading his lines), but the fact that his eyebrows seem to stay up the whole video (like he is mildly surprised) gives me pause. He seems fairly genuine though. I liked the one he did where he said it was impolite to correct peoples grammar.

  15. When I go to the M-W site for clarity on a particular word, the random video spots crop up, so I just had the treat of watching Kory’s "gridiron" segment. Again. (I mean, its’s right there – what am I gonna do, turn it down?)
    @kherova: If the Editors are reading scripted lines for these video segments, I’m fairly sure that they write their own scripts. Kory’s delivery is so naturally expressive, so fluid that it seems obvious these are her own words. Emily’s presentation on "flat adverbs" comes across smoothly enough it could be part of an off-the-cuff spontaneous conversation. The same with Peter’s "penultimate." These could all readily be impromptu discussions from persons with their depth of familiarity for the subject matter. Reading cue-cards would come across as stilted, tho I’d imagine a couple of takes and edits to achieve the 2:00 segment they seek. In any event, they are all consummate professionals.

  16. Wow, a lot of analysis on Kory’s appeal here. My own infatuation with her now seems lamely unexamined.

  17. Todd: Yes, it does seem we have lost the minimum control usually maintained by the male nerd community. Of course, it isn’t so much about her looks. It seems that most people are taken with her style. Take Joel’s comment about Stamper’s "naturally expressive" and "fluid" delivery of her lines. People have noted that my recent series "Beautiful, Intelligent, Learned" tends to highlight women who most people would agree about the intelligent and learned but not so much the beautiful. To me, any PhD who remembers to brush her hair is beautiful. C’est l’amour!

  18. Believe it or not, YOU!, yes, YOU!, (i.e., totally YOU!) YOU, Kory Stamper, are ONE of the most desirous females in the history of the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE! Yes, you, KORY STAMPER !!! I CERTAINLY hope your husband TOTALLY appreciates YOU, because if YOU ever desire to PERMANENTLY leave him (God ETERNALLY forbid!), then I TOTALLY WANT (& DESIRE) to TOTALLY assimilate YOU (not to mention COMPLETELY ravish YOU from head to foot) to the very ends of the ENTIRE Earth! (THAT IS, provided you can still give me offspring from your womb or your ovaries, whichever the case may be.) – RC

  19. (There, I finally said it for every red blooded INTELLIGENT human male out there who has ever ETERNALLY hoped for his "descendancy" – Rick Carter (aka, "Orthelion"))

  20. (Ok, well, then, I beseech thee, grant me that I am a (rudimentary) poet, if nothing else.) – RC

  21. (Gee, I guess I lost "minimum control". But you have to admit THEY ALL led me to this point, right? We ALL LOVE YOU, Kory Stamper! Go ON, AND ON, AND ON !!! We all TRULY adore you, whoever the "lucky chosen one" might be.) – RC

  22. @Kory fan: There certainly is a resemblance, although I’d say Kory is in a class of her own. I like the girl-next-door aesthetic she emanates, which means she most likely lacks the unhealtily thin physique of most Hollywood actresses.

    Concerning her seemingly lighter hair: looking at the screenshots in this blog post, it could be argued that it’s an illusion caused by better/brighter studio lighting, although I didn’t put this hypothesis to the test by comparing more videos. On a side note, my wish for 2012 is that Kory will cease to color her hair with unnatural dyes, but that’s probably just because in my country it’s not considered very stylish or sophisticated. I hope Kory doesn’t read this and thinks this is anything other than a petty preference from a random interweb user. It would be a disaster if she assumes her appearance is fundamentally disagreeable and/or dependent on the color and style of her hair!

    My apologies for any weird words or sentences; English is not my first language, which is the reason for me frequenting m-w.com so often and being confronted with the vibrant beauty that is Kory, who deserves our boundless praise and admiration, amen.

  23. Thanks Frank, for providing a place for me to find a myriad of voices to suit my thoughts. It seems I have ghost writers that have the words that I have been too lazy to write, and the thoughts that I have been too guilty to admit, although, Mr. Carter may have exuberantly gone where I cannot with good conscience, go. The Moraes/Felderburg eye-blink bit was just one of a number of entertaining entries, many of which found me breaking the silence of this night-into-morning with oll. Enter Joel, and yes, we’ve found the company of strangers, with our commonality. I waded innocently enough into the lair and fell hard at the hands of ‘A vs An’. She playfully danced through the examination of word usage and historical significance like a Siren, as I helplessly sailed straight onto the rocks and crushed, happy not to have been spared. Then Kherova. The theories that we postulate to explain our attraction seem to be as a placebo, making us feel as we are treating the affliction, while knowing we will not be cured, nor want to be. Yes, for me as well, the way her mouth moves asymmetrically… And then Todd T., who said exactly what I was feeling at the end of paragraphs full of conjecture, "lamely unexamined", indeed. So, let the healing begin. Or not so much, rather, continue, guilt-free, to visit the MW website, and further our exploration of the kosmos that is Kory.

  24. Oh, wow, the comments are hilarious. I feel much better about my dumb comments now. I especially liked the descriptor “rocker librarian.” That is, admittedly, about the sexiest description which can be made of a human being — but don’t these people have libraries? I go the library once a week, and I see an adorable one, of both genders, almost every time. One could, if one wanted, start chatting about books and ask them out. I could never do this, but I hear it has been done.

    • I agree. I have a number of librarians I have crushes on. And the comments were hilarious. Although I find it kind of charming. In the bit I quoted from Stamper, she goes on to write, “And no, I will not marry you.”

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