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November 11, 2003
Merriam-Webster Responds to McJob Controversy
I've spoken with Merriam-Webster's publicist and although he had no immediate comment as to why the term McJob was removed from the new word samples page (see, McWimps - Merriam-Webster Caving to McDonalds Threats), he did provide me the following statement:
SPRINGFIELD, MA., NOVEMBER 2003âMerriam -Webster Inc., publisher of Merriam-Websterâs CollegiateÂ® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, stands by the accuracy and appropriateness of its definition for McJob:
âa low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancementâ
Words qualify for inclusion in the dictionary because they are widely and commonly used in a broad range of carefully edited sources. For more than 17 years, âMcJobâ has been used as we are defining it in a broad range of publications, including The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Publishers Weekly, Rolling Stone, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, Ms., Harperâs, The New Republic, Utne Reader, The Vancouver Sun, Sunday Times of South Africa, and Queensland Australiaâs Courier Mail.
In editing the Collegiate Dictionary, we bear in mind the guidance offered by Noah Webster that âthe business of the lexicographer is to collect, arrange, and define, as far as possible, all the words that belong to a language, and leave the author to select from them at his pleasure and according to his judgment.â The English language is constantly changing and evolving, and it is the duty of Merriam-Webster editors to record and reflect these changes.
I'm glad to see this statement, but I still wonder about the removal of the word from the sample page.
In a related post, Dana Blankenhorn looks at the economics behind the phrase (McEconomics).
UPDATE 1310 PT
Merriam-Webster responds to the question of the removal of the word from the sampling page:
The "New Words Sampler" on the free site was not the Collegiate Dictionary--it was a marketing tool to promote the dictionary. "McJob" has not been removed from the Collegiate Dictionary, which can be found in print, CD-ROM, or online at www.merriam-webstercollegiate.com. Because people were confusing the content of the marketing piece with the full content of the Eleventh Edition of the Collegiate Dictionary, it is currently under revision; a new version will be restored soon online.
UPDATED 1630 PT
Don't know why I misspelled Merriam "Mirriam", but I did. It is now corrected.
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