Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I hate to use this phrase

--"There's a part of me..." but I know no other quick way to identify my reaction to this story about the regular updating of the Merriam-Webster dictionary to include "new" words. Words like "ginormous" and "IED." I certainly don't think it's a bad idea to set forth definitions of words that, from whatever source, creep into our national communications. But, damn, it pains me to watch such a lofty concept as language become reduced, diluted, by this type of expression. I mean, "ginormous," as defined (essentially "huge"--a combination of gigantic and enormous) adds nothing to our dialog and, it seems to me, bastardizes both words; and IED is nothing but military shorthand for a roadside mine.

Okay, so maybe they have a place in our modern culture. But to memorialize them by inclusion in an authoritative dictionary? Could this be less a linguistic effort than a marketing device?

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