Adams is a lexicographer and a historian of English language and English words. He also has a strong interest in slang and jargon, including language of television programs and invented languages, and his writings reach both academic and general audiences.
He is the author of "Slayer Slang: A 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Lexicon"; "Slang: The People's Poetry"; and "From Elvish to Klingon," the first academic survey of invented languages. His new book, "In Praise of Profanity," will be published this summer. He has also worked on dictionary projects and was for several years editor of the Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America. He is currently writing a book about the "Dictionary of American English," which became a diplomatic icon in World War II, and working on another about restaurant jargon, tentatively called "The Server's Lexicon."
In the classroom, he has created and taught highly rated graduate seminars in lexicography and literature and popular undergraduate courses on slang and aspects of popular culture.