Last week, I preemptively apologized for missing two meetings, only to be gently informed that it was okay – neither was scheduled until the next day. This would have been embarrassing, but for the fact that I punked the manager of one of the organizers into thinking he’d missed one of them, too. The other organizer said, “So, I guess you’re letting us know in advance you won’t be there?”
Fortunately, I didn’t miss any of them. They were all productive and useful.
But this what happens when you try to multitask and have a calendar that’s occasionally triple-booked and sometimes changes hourly. Hard to know if you’re coming or going!
As society and culture changes, so do the words we use daily. Each year, words are added to the dictionary. Only a very few of these merit headlines; most new words (including over 840, such as “force quit” and “biohacking,” last year, alone) are slipped into the pages of the unabridged dictionary to quietly replace words that have fallen out of fashion. Then, hard choices must be made regarding which words to include or drop, and which definitions to shorten or refer to their heavyweight, double-duty counterparts, with a “see” or “see also.”
The venerable, if little-known North American Initiative for Verbal Efficiency, an association of professional and amateur enthusiast lexicographers, indexers, and grammarists, from Canada and the U.S., lobbied passionately over the last five years to remove “gullible” from the dictionary, inspired by Oxford Press having done so in 2009. The little but mighty lexicographers’ organization finally succeeding in 2018 in changing the entry to “See: naive”?
“Though this was not, and is not, our ultimate goal,” said the organization’s spokesperson, Elise Ilex, “we are pleased with the subtle and amusing acknowledgement of our acronym in the new definition. We acknowledge that there remain a large number of people to whom the word ‘gullible’ applies, and realize that our efforts to eradicate the descriptor altogether may be premature. That won’t stop us trying,” she added.