Countdown’s Susie Dent comes to Winchester

January 2, 2024

Fans of the TV gameshow, Countdown, are in for a treat when the Queen of Dictionary Corner, Susie Dent, pays a visit to Theatre Royal Winchester on Saturday 13 January.

Susie Dent. COPYRIGHT John Lawrence

Susie Dent will take audiences on a journey into the curious, unexpected and surreal origins of the words we use every day – sharing the stories behind such words as lasagne (involves a chamber pot) and bugbear (a terrorising monster). She will explain oddities like the silent h in ghost and the disappearance of words like kempt and gormful. She will also explore words of the past to highlight the gaps we see in our language today – a scurryfunge, for example, is the frenzied fit of tidying we do as guests are about to arrive!

As part of the show, Susie will also share her funniest moments from her 30 years on Channel 4’s Countdown and 8 Out of 10 Cats Countdown, as well as startling stories from eavesdropping on a group of waiters. She will tell of her favourite words from the area and will ask the audience for theirs. Plus, she will invite questions about the origins of words, irritations around certain uses of words, the impact of Americanization, and the future of the English language in her very own ‘word surgery’.

Before she became a household name, Susie Dent worked for Oxford University Press as a lexicographer, compiling dictionaries. She is also an etymologist – a person who studies the origins and history of words – and presented a web series called Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing and an award-winning podcast called Something Rhymes with Purple with writer and broadcaster, Gyles Brandreth, about their love of words. As a writer, some of Susie’s books include Interesting Stories about Curious Words, Roots of Happiness: 100 Words for Joy and Hope, and Dent’s Modern Tribes: The Secret Languages of Britain.

Susie Dent: The Secret Lives of Words will be at Theatre Royal Winchester on Saturday 13 January at 2pm. For more information or to book tickets visit or call 01962 840 440.

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