Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 30 May, 2023
# boy bye
The dictionary - yes, the dictionary - delivered a whopper of a burn and no one was ready
Who knew it was this savage?

606CovNoBar3/01 Merriam Webster Merriam Webster

IT ALL STARTED so innocently yesterday morning – the Merriam Webster dictionary sent out a seemingly innocuous tweet about how it’s OK to use ‘mad’ when you mean ‘angry’.

Gabriel Roth, an editor at Slate, responded by comparing Merriam Webster to a “chill parent who lets your friends come over and get high”.

gabrielroth Twitter / @gabrielroth Twitter / @gabrielroth / @gabrielroth

He followed this up with even more tweets suggesting it was “narcissistically gratifying” for the dictionary to be seen as the ‘cool mom’ with no rules.

gabrielroth2 Twitter / @gabrielroth Twitter / @gabrielroth / @gabrielroth

To which Merriam Webster said:


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People have discovered a respect for the Merriam Webster dictionary they never knew they had:


The dictionary’s editor-at-large, Peter Sokolowski, told Buzzfeed the comment was done in “the spirit of good fun” – but y’know, Roth was still wrong.

The meanings of words aren’t created by dictionary makers, they are used by many people in many places, and we then derive definitions from evidence of actual usage.

Remind us to never cross Merriam Webster. Ever.

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