Word fluency performance was studied in 32 patients with unilateral temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and 25 healthy dextral controls. Two word fluency tasks were administered conforming to either formal-based criteria or semantic-based criteria. Performance for TLE patients was assessed both pre-operatively and approximately 1 week following anterior temporal lobectomy. Both formal and semantic word fluency decreased regardless of resection laterality. Left TLE patients performed significantly worse at both pre- and post-operative assessments compared to the right TLE patients, while right TLE patients performed significantly poorer than controls on all verbal fluency criteria at pre- and post-operative assessments. In addition, both TLE and control groups produced significantly fewer formal and semantic words during the second 30-sec portion of each task. These findings are discussed in terms of temporal lobe contributions to word fluency production and lexical semantic processing. © 1990.