The Macquarie Dictionary, a lexicon of Australian English, is expanding the definition of "misogyny" to include "entrenched prejudice against women." The editorial change was prompted by a parlimentary debate in which Prime Minister Julia Gillard used the word to characterize opposition leader Tony Abbott. Her speech went viral; here's a clip in a news report on Reuters. The blogs have weighed in on the Macquarie Dictionary's response, too, with familar prescriptivist distress.
Geoff Nunberg reports on the cultural significance of the controversial dictionary. I particularly liked his observation that it was Philip Gove's "fate to become the only American lexicographer whose name could appear in a New Yorker cartoon caption without need of further identification." You can read the story, "When Words were Worth Fighting Over," or listen to it, here.
The Oxford English Dictionary announces the launch of OED Appeals, a major online initiative set to involve the public in tracing the history of English words. Using a dedicated community space on the OED website, editors are soliciting help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English, including the earliest examples of particular words. The website will enable the public to post evidence in direct response to OED editors online, fostering a collective effort to record the English language and find the true roots of our vocabulary. Appeals will be posted to the website on a frequent basis. Some of the entries the OED team is initially asking the public’s help with include bellini, blue-arsed fly, come in from the cold, disco, FAQ, in your dreams!, cooties, and Kwanzaa.