Merriam-Webster Drops An Effing Bomb

August 16, 2012

Earlier this week, news outlets heralded the inclusion of a few new words and terms to the definitive arbiter of the English language. And I, for one, found the news a little shocking. Here is a list of the latest “legitimate” terms in our centuries-old language:

  • Man cave
  • F-bomb
  • Aha moment
  • Life coach
  • Energy drink
  • Bucket list
  • Sexting

I’ve seen these “new words” reported on the “Today” show, local TV news and countless online sources. But nowhere have I seen anybody questioning the whole thing. As a child, I was taught not to question Merriam nor Webster, for what they say goes. Need a definition? A language of origin? A pronunciation? M-W will guide the way.

Let’s say my faith is officially shaken.

And not because of the sheer ludicrous nature of these terms. I mean, seriously … “aha moment?” “Life coach?” These are not words. One sounds like an Oprah-ism; the other a “job” in which one person feels important enough to tell others how  to live their lives. I don’t see “marketing guy” in the dictionary, so why “life coach?” It’s so maddening I could drop an f-bomb.

I’m also seriously concerned about M-W’s credibility based simply on timing. “Energy drinks” and “man caves” have been around for years. I’m not saying they SHOULD be included, but if they belong in a dictionary, what the hell took so long? Were they nominated for inclusion last year, but hotter words like “tweet” and “bromance” beat them out? Come on, M-W. Under what rock have you been hiding?

Apparently a new authority on the English language.

And finally, I just hate F-bomb. It is not a word. It is – apparently now – legitimized slang, thanks to M-W. This is a term that soccer moms have used for the better part of a decade or more. Take it from a guy who drops the F-bomb (in its purest form) with great frequency: it’s in the urban dictionary, right where it belongs. You know what else is in the urban dictionary? Lots and lots and LOTS of words you don’t ever want to see in M-W. So why go there with F-bomb?

Unfortunately, I’m just not seeing any revolt against or dispute over the validity of these “words” on TV or online, so I’m taking it upon myself to lodge a general, though not formal, complaint. And while I’m at it, here’s a new “term” for Merriam-Webster to consider next year: “jump the shark.” The definition should be easy…

Jump The Shark, v.
1.     To lose integrity after reaching an apex in credibility
2.     Something that is past its prime
3.     To take actions that render a person or thing irrelevant

See also: Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Happy Days”

The Fonz about to jump the shark