First things first: Who made Merriam-Webster the word police? For decades now the editors of that esteemed reference book have dictated to the rest of us which words are actually words, and which words
But how did that happen? Did Noah Webster make a deal with the devil in 1806, when he published his first dictionary? Was there some secret government missive that read, "Hey, Webster, you got the word stuff -- don't screw it up. And take Merriam with you."? Was there a vote we missed?
Regardless, for 200 years now, what the editors at M-W say, goes. If they think a word belongs in the dictionary, there it is. If they don't, well, all of a sudden you find yourself speaking "incorrectily." And "wrongishly." And then, once a year, like seraphim on high sounding a clarion call, they produce a list of "new" words
that'll officially be part of the language from this point forward.
So, to Merriam-Webster we say, "Booshwa" -- which, not coincidentally, is one of our 10 Words That Should Be Words, But Aren't.
Hopefully, somewhere in their secret complex of mazes and tunnels, the M-W editors are reading this.
If we are not at cross-purposes on a matter, we "agree." Together we reach an "agreement." Certainly, then, at that point, we're all in "agreeance
" -- but not according to Webster.
Able to text-message adeptly with either hand, like a 13-year-old girl.
What we think of Webster lording it all over us.
The state of confusion and puzzlement, which thinking about this list has left us in.
Appropriate in situations where someone accomplished something -- and profited mightily in the process.
It's already spoken shorthand for our dirtiest word, often reserved for situations where dropping the rest of the F-bomb would be politically or otherwise incorrect, as in, "Sorry, Father Flanagan, I really effed that mother up."
Somehow "gajillion" is not a real word, while "ginormous
" is, though there's really no better way to express some unknown-yet-vast quantity.
Politely official, somewhere between de rigueur
formal and casual -- like guys who go to the Ritz in their best football jerseys and formal sneakers.
When things are in an uproar, they are "tumultuous." When that uproar is unbearable, they should be toomuchuous.
OK, this one is in the dictionary, as the past tense of "twitter," but it doesn't mean what it's come to mean in the last couple of years. In fact, the example from the official definition in Webster reads, "A robin twittered its morning song." (It really says that.) But no one has ever actually uttered that combination of words. We all, however, have engaged -- or know someone who has -- in the communication form known as "tweeting," which is what people who use Twitter
are said to do.
We're not endorsing any conjugations of the word "Twitter" as relates to the service; in fact, we find it a little sad it's saddled with such a silly name. But "tweeted" is simply ridiculous. It's one thing when Ashton Kutcher "tweets" about
the holes in his socks (which Demi hasn't gotten around to darning). It's another when rebels in Iran use the service to alert the world to human rights violations and out-and-out murder, as happened in 2009
So, instead of "tweeted" we'd like to propose that the past tense of sending a 140-character SMS message to a bunch of other people be "Twittered." Better yet, there should be two branches of Twitter: The first -- for smoodge*
like we (and Ashton Kutcher) send out -- should be called "Twaddle." The other stuff -- like world-shaking news from Iran -- should be shared under some ridiculously cumbersome, stupendously formal name that we're not even qualified to come up with.
Got any ideas?
*This should really be on the list, too