The Straight Dope
Type of site
Question and answer
OwnerSun-Times / Straight Dope Publishing
Created byCecil Adams (pseudonym)
RegistrationRequired only on forum
Launched1973; 50 years ago (1973)
Current statusNo longer updated

"The Straight Dope" was a question-and-answer newspaper column written under the pseudonym Cecil Adams. Contributions were made by multiple authors, and it was illustrated (also pseudonymously) by Slug Signorino.[1] It was first published in 1973 in the Chicago Reader as well as in print syndication nationally in the United States,[2] and on a website with the same name.

Following the column of June 27, 2018, the "Straight Dope" column was placed on hiatus, with no decision made regarding its future.[3] The website and associated forum continue to be active.

Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, has purchased Sun-Times Media (STM), which owns the Straight Dope, including the SDMB (Straight Dope Message Board).

Name and tagline

The column derives its name from the American idiom meaning roughly "the true information; the full story"[4] and covers many subjects, including history, science, old wives' tales, urban legends, and inventions. The column appeared under the tagline: "Fighting ignorance since 1973. (It's taking longer than we thought.)”


Five collections of columns have been published, sometimes referred to as the Straight Dope Cyclopedia of Human Knowledge:

In addition, the 1993 collection Know It All was published for younger audiences by Cecil's "assistant" Ed Zotti.[5]


In 1996, the A&E Network briefly aired a show based on the column called The Straight Dope, hosted and co-written by comedian Mike Lukas.[6] A podcast has also been released sporadically.


  1. ^ "The Straight Dope FAQ". Chicago Reader. 18 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Newspapers carrying The Straight Dope". The Straight Dope. 2013-06-16. Archived from the original on 2017-10-03.
  3. ^ Adams, Cecil (27 June 2018). "A note from Cecil Adams about The Straight Dope". The Straight Dope. Archived from the original on 2018-06-28.
  4. ^ Spears, Richard A. (2005). McGraw-Hill's dictionary of American idioms and phrasal verbs. Chicago: McGraw-Hill. p. 652. ISBN 0-07-143578-6. OCLC 61399219.
  5. ^ "The Straight Dope Books". The Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  6. ^ "Mike Lukas". Deja Vu Comedy Club. Archived from the original on 2008-02-06.