*This is your preemptive exit warning if you need one: There will be both shade and clap back ahead. Also, politics. There’s the door, friend.
For the rest of you who are still with us, allow me to introduce you to the barrel of awesome sauce that is the social media account of the cheekiest shade on the internet: the dictionary.
Whaaa? Those are still a thing? Yes. Yes, they are. Merriam-Webster has been around for over 150 years, and has been online since 1996, but it’s their current social media presence that has made them the darling of the internet. Shattering the idea that information should be dry and dusty, M-W’s Twitter feed is not only hilarious, but also factual, current, and just irreverent enough to have followers in a constant state of “Daaamn!” as they land blow after blow straight to the chin of inappropriate word usage. We are all here for that, and then some. After all, I think we’re all pretty damn sick of having to have this meme on standby for any given conversation lately.
To recap: bigly is a real word. Trump said ‘big league’, which is also a real word. We don’t enter ‘big league’ as an adverb, however.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) October 10, 2016
We have the entire internet at our fingertips 24/7, and yet people resist taking advantage of that knowledge. I don’t know why that is, but I’d like to see it change. Can we please #MakeAmericaSmartAgain? Pretty please? We asked, and from the depths of Twitter, one dictionary answered, “Hell yes, we can.”
*whispers into the void* In contemporary use, fact is understood to refer to something with actual existence. https://t.co/gCKRZZm23c
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) January 24, 2017
Leading that charge (and giving me LIFE) is the content and social media manager over at Merriam-Webster, Lauren Naturale, who insists that they’re not really doing anything differently than they have been in years past. They’ve been running a feature called Trend Watch since 2010, and from that, they gather the highest trending words daily, and use that information to write their blog entries and publish definitions to current trending words.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) October 20, 2016
It’s only lately that the trending words seem to have taken a turn toward politics, for obvious reasons, but M-W reiterates that these entries reflect only the trends that are created by people looking up words, and not any particular political bias.
“We’ve been doing a lot of interesting things for a while. And we’re not political, so I hope people don’t hang around and just get disappointed after.”
📈’Complicit’ is trending after Ivanka Trump told CBS “I don’t know what it means to be complicit.” https://t.co/qE6UcB8pUz
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) April 4, 2017
“When a lot of people are looking up a word at a rate higher than usual, in a way that’s related to an event, we share that trend and try to add some additional information on the word’s meaning and how it was used.”
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 17, 2016
Lest I give the mistaken idea that Lauren is a one-woman resistance army, she’s humbly pointed out that even though it’s her job to tweet, those entries are actually the work of several people. “It’s absolutely a team effort. We’re blessed to work with this many smart, funny, passionate people.”
When asked specifically about what some people feel is political sniping, or even trolling as some headlines proclaim, M-W responds that they report lookup trends, nothing more. “And again, we’ve been doing that since 2010. Trend Watch is not new, and it’s not political. We report when lookups spike, which happens for a variety of reasons.“
Translation: We’re doing our job. Get off our back and pick up a dictionary.
1) saying they don’t know what ‘genderqueer’ means
2) asking why we added it to the dictionary pic.twitter.com/wsGZ7Y6XB8
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) April 25, 2016
BOOM! Run and tell that.
‘Sheeple’ is in the dictionary now. https://t.co/pbXVADEoBm
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) April 27, 2017
Personally, as long as people are still using “irregardless” and “alternate facts” like either one of those are in any way a real thing, I don’t care how much shade M-W throws or where they choose to throw it, just so long as they keep on doing their thing and giving everyone a daily dose of knowledge with a healthy side of sass.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) April 24, 2017