William Lewis Safire (December 17, 1929 – September 27, 2009) was an American author, columnist, journalist and presidential speechwriter.
He was perhaps best known as a long-time syndicated political columnist for the New York Times and a regular contributor to "On Language" in the New York Times Magazine, a column on popular etymology, new or unusual usages, and other language-related topics.
Born to a Jewish family with Romanian roots on his father's side whose last name was originally "Safir", William Safire later added the "e" for pronunciation reasons, though some of his relatives continue to use the original spelling. Safire graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, a specialized public high school in New York City. He attended Syracuse University but dropped out after two years. He would deliver the commencement address at Syracuse in 1978 and 1990 and become a trustee of the university.