Are Dictionaries Even Relevant Anymore?

The Oxford English dictionary released its list of new words recently. Among the recently added were:

  • Heart – as a verb. As in “I heart adding new words to the dictionary.”
  • OMG – shorthand for “Oh my God.”
  • LOL – shorthand for “Laughing out loud.”

Is this what the dictionary has become? A repository of shorthand? A list of acronyms? These aren’t words. These quick ways to write a series of words. Acronyms are nothing new, but they don’t belong in the dictionary. WORDS belong in the dictionary.

Which brings up a bigger question, do we even really need the dictionary anymore? Or is it one of those relics from olden times, like an encyclopedia? In real life, words are whatever we say they are. If I used a word enough, and other people start repeating it, and on and on, isn’t it now a word?

Do we really need some ivory tower eggheads to tell us what is and isn’t a word?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have definitions but do we need a governing body to rule it? or can we leave it to the wisdom of the crowds. I

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About Ezra Englebardt
Account planner, digital nerd, marketing guru, tweeter, facebooker, occasional blogger, cyclist, snowboarder, mountain biker, social media junkie and avid reader. CU-Boulder and Boston College alum. Frequent guest speaker in Boston-area universities.

One Response to Are Dictionaries Even Relevant Anymore?

  1. Stan says:

    How about laser and scuba? They’re acronyms. The distinction isn’t clear-cut.

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