Everything Language and Grammar

Come On, Dictionary

Posted by languageandgrammar on November 22, 2010

By Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

When you heard that refudiate, Sarah Palin’s mistaken combination of refute and repudiate, was made one of the New Oxford American Dictionary’s words of the year, I’m sure that the first thing you thought about was the rant that languageandgrammar.com was going to write.

We chose, instead, to allow Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live to do our work for us since he did such a great job last weekend.

The second thing you probably thought of was how ridiculous the choice was. Seriously, refudiate? Come on, dictionary. It was two words slapped together by mistake by a politician, and by politician, I mean someone who prefers money to politics since Ms. Palin left her elected post 18 months early in order to earn more money.

I think that the reason to make a clear error a “word” of the year in this instance is because of the person who made the error and because of the interest it would generate for Oxford dictionary. Media and Web attention is often more important than substance for many.

Hmmmm…maybe Sarah and the Oxford Dictionary have a lot in common.

Wait! That’s right. I promised to let Mr. Meyers rant for us….

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