You can change the world, one dictionary entry at a time

by Rashmee

Posted on May 20, 2021


/ LANGUAGE Maria Beatrice Giovanardi is proof that words matter and we can change the world by forcing change in how they’re used. And defined. Some little time ago, as this fascinating piece in British Vogue reports, Ms Giovanardi was looking up synonyms for the word ‘woman’ in early 2019 and came upon the following: … Continue reading “You can change the world, one dictionary entry at a time”

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‘Tea’ – the new ‘cool’

by Rashmee

Posted on December 18, 2020


According to Merriam-Webster, Urban Dictionary, the word tea has evolved. It now means “gossip” and/ or “agreed”. The dictionary spells it out as follows: Situation One – “Spill the tea, what did he say?” Situation Two – “Last night was a mess. Here’s the tea.”  Situation Three –”And then I said, I can’t support or be with someone who … Continue reading “‘Tea’ – the new ‘cool’”

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America’s most trusted dictionary will redefine racism

by Rashmee

Posted on June 12, 2020 / The Focus


Merriam-Webster has been in the business of word definitions for the better part of 200 years. Now, in a nod to the changing national and international discourse, America’s most trusted online dictionary  plans to revise its entry on racism . Merriam-Webster will now acknowledge that racism is systemic. One of the dictionary’s editors has admitted: “Omitting any … Continue reading “America’s most trusted dictionary will redefine racism”

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Dictionaries have never been so political and this may be unsatisfactory (adj)

by Rashmee

Posted on December 31, 2017


Just consider the way dictionary-publishers ended 2017 and rang in the year. Merriam-Webster, the American publisher, declared that its word of the year was “feminism”. This, in recognition of the January 21, 2017 Women’s March, as well as the #MeToo movement denouncing sexual harassment. Nothing too wrong with that one might think. After all, the Women’s … Continue reading “Dictionaries have never been so political and this may be unsatisfactory (adj)”

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Mind your language in this slacktivist, post-truth world

by Rashmee

Posted on May 4, 2017 / The National


Political junkies, lexicographers and social media users recently enjoyed a rare, shared moment of levity. It was over the terminology employed by a well known British politician to describe the leader of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party. Boris Johnson said that Jeremy Corbyn was a “mutton-headed old mugwump”, sending smooth-talking politicians and skilled wordsmiths … Continue reading “Mind your language in this slacktivist, post-truth world”

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Mona Lisa’s duckface? The world changes with every word we make up

by Rashmee

Posted on June 7, 2015


Does the world change with every word we make up to describe it? It’s a good question and probably best answered by considering the word “duckface”. This was defined by Collins Dictionary last year as “a pouting expression when posing for a photograph”. As The Economist blogged at the time: “Until someone pointed out ‘duckface’ … Continue reading “Mona Lisa’s duckface? The world changes with every word we make up”

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Remember adorkable, gaybourhood? Dictionaries validate nowspeak

by Rashmee

Posted on June 3, 2015


Why are dictionaries increasingly prone to growth spurts? Mostly because it makes good sense for lexicographers to find the words that people actually use and then to record them rather than serving as policemen who keep words out. As The Economist memorably blogged last May about Collins Dictionary’s decision to add a word to its … Continue reading “Remember adorkable, gaybourhood? Dictionaries validate nowspeak”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK