If you haven’t heard yet, the dictionary company Merriam-Webster has landed on its “Word of the Year” and the decision is as ridiculous as it is confusing.
The word is “they.”
This may seem simple enough, and maybe even a little underwhelming, but just wait, it gets better.
The “they” they’re speaking of is in reference to the way people with gender dysphoria or people desperate for attention refer to themselves when they identify as neither male or female.
According to NBC News, Merriam-Webster arrived at the decision because they watched as searches for the word grew “dramatically”:
“Pronouns are among the language’s most commonly used words, and like other common words (think ‘go,’ ‘do,’ and ‘have’) they tend to be mostly ignored by dictionary users,” Emily Brewster, senior editor at Merriam-Webster, said in a statement. “But over the past year or so, as people have increasingly encountered the nonbinary use, we’ve seen searches for ‘they’ grow dramatically.”
“They” was looked up 313 percent more this year than the last year, Merriam-Webster revealed.
In today’s usage of the word, “they” doesn’t refer to more than one person. It’s now also supposed to mean one person who doesn’t have a pronoun that lands on a gender.
It would look something like this: “Jim wants to see a movie and Jan wants to go to the protest. Jim thinks the protest is stupid and he’d rather not waste his time, but Jan thinks it’s important to burn trash in the street to protest climate change, and they doesn’t have money anyway. Besides, they has Antifa buddies there and they’d like to see.”
As stupid as that is, what’s even more stupid is the fact that Merriam-Webster is fueling the fire for this nonsense. Brewster noted that the increase in searches prompted Merriam-Webster to alter the word so that it reflects today’s common usage.
“We are always aiming to reflect usage,” Brewster said in September when they changed the meaning of the word. “It’s very clear that this is fully established in the language at this point.”
Translated, this means that Merriam-Webster is declaring that words don’t really have a meaning and that definitions can be as fluid as we need them to be. While I realize language changes over time, we can all recognized slang when we see it.
The word “cool” is used so commonly to refer to something that is agreeable or means someone who is calm and collected, but we still recognize the term as slang and not the actual definition of the word “cool,” which means the absence of heat.
Not Merriam-Webster, however. For them, being calm is exactly what “cool” means.
If words have no meaning, then people can throw whatever terms they want around to mean whatever definition they want. While this may sound like a libertarian-ish attitude, it’s actually a ridiculous notion. We all have an established idea of what words mean in our language and switching things up to mean something completely different can not only be confusing, it can change the way we operate as a society.
This a stupid choice by Merriam-Webster. If words are so fluid, then what’s the point of even having a dictionary? I can say whatever I want and it’ll mean whatever I please.
Toaster band key bottle coffee wax on off wacker boogie, idiots. Slim slam!