About Rob Kyff

Rob Kyff

Rob Kyff

Rob Kyff is the language columnist for the Hartford Courant, as well as a teacher, editor and writer. His column  appears regularly in several newspapers across the country.

A native of Armonk, N.Y., Kyff earned a BA at Amherst College and an MA in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. In Minneapolis, he served as director of public information for a social-service agency and edited the employee magazine for a national retail chain.

He has taught English and history at Kingswood-Oxford School in West Hartford since 1977 and also served as the school's director of public affairs, editor of its alumni magazine and advisor to the student newspaper.

His essays have appeared in many newspapers, including the Washington Post,

Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and Baltimore Sun, and his articles have appeared in Reader's Digest,American History and Northeast. He contributed to

Speaking Freely -- A guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley, published by Oxford University Press in 1997.

He has published two books: Word Up! - A Lively Look at English (Writers Club Press, 2000) and Once Upon a Word - True Tales of Word Origins (Tapestry Press, 2003).

He lives in West Hartford, Conn., with his family.


A Look Back at the Words of 2018 Dec 12, 2018

My goodness, what a year we had, With mayhem, storms, and fires so bad. Our language seemed to fall from grace, Sometimes nasty, sometimes base. With "fire and fury" we rudely "threw shade," Aspersions flew like hand grenades. Online postings spiked ... Read More


Political Potshots Have Always Packed Punch Dec 05, 2018

If you think today's political insults are nasty, consider these mud bombs hurled at Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce and Grover Cleveland, respectively: "A drunken trowser-maker!" "The pimp of the White House!" "A moral leper!" John Adam... Read More


Good Folks Peppered With Salty Language Nov 28, 2018

Q. Why do we call virtuous people "the salt of the earth?" — John S., West Hartford, Connecticut Though "salt of the earth" is a venerable expression with biblical origins, it has still managed to provoke a salty linguistic controversy. The phr... Read More