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Two Things You Don’t Want Your Kids to Do or Say Were Just Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Merriam-Webster

Does adding bad words to the dictionary give kids permission to use (or do) them?

“F-bomb” has just been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, thanks, in part, to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

“We saw [a] huge spike after Dick Cheney dropped an F-bomb in the Senate in 2004,” Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press (via Yahoo). “It’s a word that is very visually evocative. It’s not just the F-word. It’s F-bomb. You know that it’s going to cause a lot of consternation and possible damage.”

Particularly, when young children realize that if the “F-bomb” is in the dictionary, then it’s formerly taboo-status must have been lifted.

Another word added to the dictionary that puts an official label on something you don’t want your kids doing?

“Sexting.”

More benign words added to this year’s dictionary include “brain camp,” “bucket list,” “energy drink,” “life coach,” “aha moment,” and “man cave.” About 100 new words make it into Merriam-Webster’s print edition each year.

Among last year’s notable words were “tweet,” “bromance,” and “cougar” (presumably the Demi Moore-variety, not the mountain lion kind).

Does putting an official, dictionary-approved label on previously forbidden words, actions or subjects make them more legitimate? In other words (ahem), will the presence of “f-bomb” and “sexting” make kids more likely to say or do them? Or can words not be blamed for actions, inappropriate or otherwise?

Are the Merriam-Webster folks simply reacting to the times and trying to keep up with them, or are they making a statement and giving printed consent to start using and doing some previously non-kid friendly words and activities?

Photo credit: iStock

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