Main | Thursday, March 19, 2009

Merriam-Webster: Where Have YOU People Been? We Did That Six Years Ago

It turns out that the wingnuts are a little behind the curve with all this screaming about Merriam-Webster updating the definition of marriage. According to the company, they made the change in 2003. Actually, it's kind of mind-blowing that nobody on either side has picked up on that in six years. Yesterday Merriam-Webster responded to all the nasty emails coming in from Outer Wingnutia:
"In recent years, this sense of 'marriage' has appeared frequently and consistently through a broad spectrum of carefully edited publications, and is often used in phrases such as 'same-sex marriage' and 'gay marriage' by proponents and opponents alike," the statement read. "Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing dictionary users with accurate information about all of the word's current uses." Merriam-Webster spokesman Arthur Bicknell added that the company was surprised the revision was creating a stir only now. "What we are finding odd is that this is neither news nor unusual," Bicknell said. "In fact, we were kind of late to the party. We were one of the last ones among the major dictionary publishers to do this."
American Heritage updated their marriage entry in 2000 to read:
1a. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife. b. The state of being married; wedlock. and c. A common-law marriage," is "A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage."
The Oxford English Dictionary says they are about to make a change, and their proposed entry is the one I wish all the others would use:
marriage: the condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between persons married to each other; matrimony."

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