What I mean to say is, this is change, and change is bad, especially where the dictionary is concerned. I don’t think this makes me a joyless pedant. I have plenty of joys: for instance, correcting people’s grammar and draining the fun out of life.
I understand that the constant influx of new words into the dictionary is what keeps the language vital. If no new words were permitted to join the language, that would leave Shakespeare feeling like a guy who brought a bodkin to a gun fight. I hear all of this. Words keep going extinct and retiring from use (when was the last time you encountered a “snollygoster”?) and if we don’t want the social security system for words to go bankrupt, we need new words to enter the workforce and pay in to the word bank. Don’t we? I don’t really know how the economics of this play out.
The devastating thing about most of these new words is they don’t have anagrams of equal length. You can turn “funplex” into “flex” and “pun,” but that is about as far as you can get. “Frenemy” will become “ferny em” but that does you little good unless you need another two-letter word for your M tile.
But for those of us who are proud to be sticklers and who have opted to die on this molehill rather than win, battling selfie, hashtag, bling, chillax, dubstep, vlog, schmutz, beatbox, fracking, frenemy, funplex, jockdom, joypad, mixtape, sudoku to our last tile, here are some suggestions for new Purist Scrabble rules.
• If you can prove that you had all the letters for, say, VLOG or DUBSTEP but opted not to use them, everyone at the table has to give you 25 points, just out of respect.
• If you use “CHILLAX” or “FRENEMY” during a game of Words With Friends, it turns into a game of Words With Enemies — or Frenemies, as the case may be.
• Anyone who uses the word “FUNPLEX” has to visit one.
• If anyone uses “jockdom,” you are entitled to overturn the board by accident.
But the more I look at these rules, the more I fear I’m becoming what I set out to stop. One of the new words, after all, is BUZZKILL.