Here's the Scoop: Nov. 19, 2008
Too bored to care
I was plenty excited to read this week that “meh” has been added to the dictionary.
For those of you who may not be familiar with this term, it’s basically a “term of indifference or boredom.”
“Meh” reportedly traces the roots of its popularity back seven years to an episode of The Simpsons. That’s when Bart and Lisa respond to an offer of a day of family fun from their father with “meh” and continue watching television.
As is the case with many trends these days, once “meh” caught on, it soon traveled the smooth Internet highway and became part of many people’s vocabularies.
According to the report I read about this (on the Internet, naturally), people were asked by the folks at the Collins English Dictionary to submit words that they felt should be included in the new edition. Enough people were apparently bored enough to have the time to offer their support for giving “meh” a rightful place in the dictionary.
The people who write dictionaries take their work pretty seriously. Among the suggested words that did not make the book were: “jargonaut,” a fan of jargon; “frenemy,” an enemy disguised as a friend and “huggles,” a hybrid of hugs and snuggles.
I’ve gotta tell you, the dictionary people made the right call there. Especially with “huggles.”
I guess the fact that some submissions were rejected makes me feel a bit better. Misery loves company, as they say.
You see, I have submitted my share of words for dictionary consideration over the years. I got “zippo.” How did that word make it and mine didn’t?
Part of the problem, I think, is that the words I have invented have come out of “necessity,” rather than me trying to make up some cute little word like…umm…huggles. Yikes.
Because I am not a skilled contractor, but for some reason I get involved in quite a few building projects, problems sometimes arise. Painful problems. A mis-hammer here, a collapsing ceiling there — these incidents add up to “plenty of new words that should be in the dictionary.”
Unfortunately, the family nature of this publication prevents me from introducing those words publicly here. I can say, with confidence, that my workmates have been very impressed by words I have introduced. Once the blood flow has been stopped, we often chat about expressions that have tumbled from my mouth.
Along with the fact that these terms are rated “R” for mature, there’s also the problem that they’re long and hard to spell. Since I have invented these words, I’m sure I can figure out a proper spelling if any of them ever do earn dictionary status.
In the meantime, let me just say that when it comes to me inventing pieces of the language, four-letter words are just the starting point. And they are not “Meh.”