David Wilton is a visitor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. His research interests are in Old and Middle English language and literature, cognitive approaches to literature, historical linguistics, and the history of the English language. He is the long-time editor of the wordorigins.org website.


Ph.D., University of Toronto, English (2016)
Graduate studies, University of California, Berkeley, English (2010, non-degree program)
M.A., George Washington University, Security Policy Studies (1992)
B.A., Lafayette College, Government and Law (1985)



Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, Oxford UP, 2004


“What Do We Mean by Anglo-Saxon? Pre-Conquest to the Present,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology (JEGP), 119.4, October 2020

Fæhða Gemyndig: Hostile Acts vs. Enmity,” Neophilologus, 99.4 (2015), 647–666

“Rethinking the Prescriptivist-Descriptivist Dyad: Motives and Methods in Two Eighteenth-Century Grammars,” English Today, 30.3 (2014), 38–47

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