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Posted at 03:10 PM ET, 08/14/2012

Merriam-Webster drops the ‘F-bomb’


This is from a film called “The World’s Most Beautiful Dictionary” but to me this just looks like a dictionary with a great personality. (Japan Information and Cultural Center, Embassy of Japan)
I personally have no problem with the fact that “F-bomb” has just joined the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. But whenever new words slip into the dictionary, it’s like a gated community watching the New Family move in.

“Oh no,” Diatribe mutters to Glut. “Look at them, dear.”

F-Bomb and Life Coach are blasting loud neologism-rich music as they unpack their large family van.

Glut shudders a little as they produce several lawn ornaments and a framed picture of their home in the old country of Internet.

“Diatribe,” Glut hisses, “DO something.”

Diatribe adjusts the collar of his polo. “What do you want me to do, honey? Look, Frenemy and Shawarma have only been here since 2009, and see how well they’ve settled in!”

“That was different,” Glut murmurs. “I mean, F-bomb, for Pete’s sake!”

“Now, dear,” Diatribe says, “F-bomb has close relatives who have been here since the very beginning.”

It’s always like this.

Today brought word that F-Bomb, Life Coach, Sexting and a whole array of 97 other new words had made their way into the guarded confines of the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary. And the usual alarms are being rung. All the old words that can trace their lineage back to the Anglo Saxons or the pen of Shakespeare cluster in fear behind their screen doors as the Newers unpack. “There goes the neighborhood,” they murmur, as e-Reader comes careeing around the corner in a flashy new car, with Geocaching on his arm.

“We’ll have to move to the Oxford English Dictionary,” Glut says insistently to Diatribe, shaking her head. “They know how to keep out the undesirable element.”

“I don’t see what’s so undesirable about Sexting or Obesogenic,” Diatribe says. He is just being difficult at this point. “Besides the last time we turned around the OED was welcoming OMG, LOL, and <3, which doesn’t even contain letters.”

“I hate you sometimes,” Glut murmurs. “Look, I have nothing against Sexting. But not here. We used to have rules to keep these upstarts out.”

“These arrivals are the only thing keeping us off the street! They keep English vibrant and alive! Do you know how few people still buy dictionaries?” Diatribe barks, suddenly. “Do you? Do you want to have this discussion? We should be thankful we still have a home. Or we’d be shunted over to Dictionary.com, Glut. Think of that.”

Glut shudders.

“Or even UrbanDictionary,” Diatribe goes on. “It’s anarchy there. They make you mean whatever they want you to mean. Sheer chaos. Perfectly respectable words forced into the most disgusting, perverted positions I’ve ever. . .

“All right,” Glut says. “All right.” She glowers out of the screen door at Shovel-Ready. “But just see if they let them on the golf course in those outfits.”

By  |  03:10 PM ET, 08/14/2012

 
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