The Vocabula Review

September 2008, Vol. 10, No. 9 Monday, September 22, 2014


Mock Merriam
Web version
 

The eleventh edition of "America's Best-Selling Dictionary," Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (Frederick C. Mish, editor in chief), does as much as, if not more than, the famously derided Webster's Third International Dictionary to discourage people from taking lexicographers seriously. "Laxicographers" all, the Merriam-Webster staff reminds us that dictionaries merely record how people use the language, not how people ought to use the language. Some dictionaries, and certainly this edition of Merriam-Webster, actually promote illiteracy.

Consider the following entry from the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's, and perhaps you, too, will mock Merriam:

replete
Pronunciation: \ri-plēt\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French replet, from Latin repletus, past participle of replēre to fill up, from re- + plēre to fill.
Date: 14th century
1: fully or abundantly provided or filled "a book replete with ... delicious details" — William Safire
2 a: abundantly fed b: FAT, STOUT
3: COMPLETE

Replete, which has long meant "abundantly provided or filled, abounding, filled to satiation," now, according to the charlatans at Merriam-Webster, also means complete. It may mean complete to people who know little, to people who feel that replete, perhaps because it rhymes with complete, is simply a synonym for complete, but that is no reason for Merriam-Webster to offer this definition in its odious dictionary.

Merriam-Webster's promotes the misuse of replete, but it does not include the far more interesting and useful misosophist.

Merriam-Webster: no longer "your assurance of quality and authority."

Mock Merriam.

More Mock Merriam

Do you find fault with an entry in the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary? Tell us what it is.

Donate to the English language; donate to literacy, honesty, and clarity; donate to The Vocabula Review.



See anything wrong
on this page?

Want to read more?
See the Vocabula essay archive.

Contact
The Vocabula Review.

 
 
Silence, Language, & Society
A guide to style and meaning, grace and compassion

Silence, Language, & Society

"a remarkable little volume" — Midwest Book Review

"Silence Language & Society ... is an elegant little book, and I am very pleased to own it." — Joseph Epstein

"Robert Hartwell Fiske is one of the most quotable writers alive, and Silence, Language & Society positively oozes epigrammatic sentences from every page. If you like great writing, and if you enjoy reading pithy observations about language, literature, and life, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of this book." — Slade Allenbury

You can order Silence, Language, & Society from Vocabula Books or Amazon.




Discuss this article
 
    Have a thought -- a criticism or compliment -- about this article?  Click the "Discuss this article" heading.
Respond to RHF RHF on September 18, 2008 at 2:27 PM
0 people like this comment; 0 dislike it. · Like · Dislike


Print this page

Previous page Previous page Next page Next page
The Vocabula Review
5A Holbrook Court
Rockport, Massachusetts 01966
United States
Made in the USA  
Editor: Robert Hartwell Fiske
Website: www.vocabula.com
Email: info@vocabula.com
Tel: (978) 309-8730
Copyright © 1999–2014 Vocabula Communications Company. All rights reserved.
The contents of this site are the copyright property of Vocabula Communications Company.
Republication or redistribution of The Vocabula Review's contents on another website, in another publication, or to nonsubscribers is expressly prohibited without the prior written permission of The Vocabula Review. Copy policy.
Vocabula is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
The Vocabula Review is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
Vocabula Books is a registered service mark of Vocabula Communications Company.
Vocabula logo is a registered trademark of Vocabula Communications Company.
"A society is generally as lax as its language" and "Well spoken is half sung" are registered service marks of Vocabula Communications Company.
All six marks are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
TVR signature tune copyright © 2001 Vocabula Communications Company. All rights reserved.
The views expressed on these pages do not necessarily reflect those of The Vocabula Review or its editor.
Donate to The Vocabula Review.