Merriam-Webster just made a [sic] burn on language sticklers.
Merriam-Webster just made a [sic] burn on language sticklers. Getty

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Maybe you missed this momentous news, but Merriam-Webster on February 19 announced that savages who use the word "nauseous" when they mean "nauseated" have the dictionary's good graces to vomit on the English language. M-W's social media manager just... tweeted it out, like it's not a catastrophe.


"But... but," you splutter, "language is a fluid, evolving organism. It must adapt to the way people use it." True, true. But not all change is good. And when we get lax about things like "nauseous" and "nauseated," the next thing you know we're installing nefarious tools like Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos into positions of national import.

The passage from Merriam-Webster's explanation about this wrongheaded decision (which includes a hyphen where it shouldn't be, by the fucking way) reveals a cavalier, "whattaya gonna do?" attitude toward linguistic miscreants.

The "nauseated" sense of nauseous is now in widespread use, found in well-edited newspapers, books by highly-regarded authors, medical journals, and your children's social media feeds. You do not have to use the word in this way, but you also do not have to argue about it. We could all spend our time on something more useful, such as finding a new use for Satan's tennis-ball.

I co-sign this tweeter's response.


I don't know about you (wait, I do know about you), but I want my dictionary editors to be iron-fisted dictators, strict gatekeepers who don't cave in to peer pressure from dunces. (Yes, I'm a horrible classist—and you're facilitating the erosion of English. Let's get a room.) However, this is our brave new world now—one in which the so-called president of the United States randomly capitalizes words and misspells "there." It's just [sic]ening.