Hal Niergarth was a contributing lexicographer/editor on several Merriam-Webster dictionaries. He also contributed to A Dictionary of Idioms for the Deaf. He taught freshman English, ESL grammar & writing, and was an ESL tutor for Dow Chemical business professionals( non-native English speakers) in advanced English grammar and English idioms. He earned an MA in ESL (Univ. of Massachusetts) and a BA in Russian (Univ. of Michigan) and took graduate courses in linguistics. Elizabeth Niergarth, who helped with the research for The Idiom Book, was a contributor to Merriam Webster's Advanced Learner's English Dictionary, and taught ESL in public schools, SVSU, SIT, and Harvard University.