Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Could Have Been Worse

The Word of The Year that I mentioned the other day? What was it? Oh, yeah. Hypermiling. OK, that's just horrible and we all know it. It could have been worse. Leave it to the Brits to try and out-bad each other. The folks over there at the Collins English Dictionary (founded and published by Joan Collins, that is correct) have announced the new words that they will be including in the 30th anniversary edition of their dictionary which will be published next year. Apparently, even the annual adding of asinine terms hasn't prevented them from staying in the word biz for 30 years. Shocking, I know. The new inclusion which, according to the folks at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, was " generating a surprising amount of enthusiasm among lexicographers" (I'd really like to know what a bunch of excited lexicographers looks like!) is (drum roll, please)...meh. No, really. Meh. I'm not bored. That's the word. That's the inclusion. In the freaking dictionary. Meh. (It's true. We really are doomed.)

The thing about 'meh' that you meh or meh not find interesting (I couldn't resist) is that it's "origins are murky". (But are they purposefully murky? That's my question. I can't say I'd be rushing around proclaiming that I was responsible for 'meh'. Other words? Sure. I have a list of words I'd really like to have been responsible for. But 'meh'? I don't think so.) It would seem that the evildoers at work here would be none other than "The Simpsons". Wait. What?

Correct. Apparently, there was an episode in a 2001 "in which Homer suggests a day trip to his children Bart and Lisa." "They both just reply 'meh' and keep watching TV." I could see that. The Collins English Dictionary folks are going to be defining 'meh' as "an expression of indifference or boredom, or an adjective meaning mediocre or boring." They go on to say that 'meh' "originated in North America, spread through the Internet and was now entering British spoken English." As opposed to the English that the British only think about?

And once again, it would seem as though the Internet is partially to blame. The Internet and The Simpsons. Sending people to hell one small word at a time. The dictionary geeks tell us that "Internet forums and e-mail are playing a big part in formalizing the spellings of vocal interjections like these. A couple of other examples would be 'hmm' and 'heh.' " What about 'mmm'? As in "Mmm...pie." (You know, you could use 'pie' as a word that goes with any of those just to try them out. "Hmm...pie." See, that works! "Heh...pie." Works too! "Meh...pie." Well, now that's just silly because pie is certainly not 'meh'.)

But here's where it could have been worse. I know, I know, worse than that example I just gave? Sadly, (and surprisingly) yes. You see, "Collins...asked people to submit words they use in conversation that are not in the dictionary." It's a good thing they weren't asking me because I totally misunderstood what they were going for there and came up with a fairly inclusive list of salty, salty language. But they meant words that would be mostly acceptable, should you say them in public. (Say, like when you're in line at the post office and you have forgotten the address of the person to whom you are mailing a package. You rattle off a long line of some of the words that I came up with (that are, once again, not in the dictionary) and you're soon realizing that you're going to have to walk that package quite a distance to get it to your friend, as the post office people have asked you to leave and not return.)
But here's what we could have been stuck with:

  • Jargonaut - A fan of jargon

  • Frenemy - An enemy disguised as a friend

  • Huggles - A hybrid of hugs and snuggles.

What the heck are those?! Those are horrible! And the worst ever is quite possibly that 'huggles' abomination there! It's too close to "Huggies". I don't care who you are, if you said 'huggles' to me, you'd find yourself on the wrong end of a 'slunch' and getting 'slunched' - a hybrid of slugged and punched.

And 'frenemy'? Wasn't that one of the characters on Fraggle Rock? But really now, who has actual 'enemies'? Are we all living in a James Bond movie these days? Sure, there are people that you just don't like, but they're not necessarily an 'enemy'. They could just be a bitch!

'Jargonaut'. That's just stretching it right there. Actually, 'jargon', while initially catchy, starts to grate on your nerves after a while. Thus, no one is really going ot like a 'jargonaut' in the long run. So you might as well just knock it off before you end up friendless and alone. Besides ruining what's left of your social life, it's just a dumb word to begin with. There are a lot of things to be 'a fan of', but you don't see people always adding the 'naut' to the end. You're not hearing 'pienaut' very much. Mmm...pie.

I do love good list, though. That seems to be clear. =)

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