meh!

Unless you live under a rock, you know that “meh” has gained a place in the Collins English Dictionary. It’s been part of the Urban Dictionary for quite some time. But being included in a “real” dictionary somehow qualifies this as “real” news!

See the AP news article below:

‘Meh’: Apathetic expression enters dictionary

new word for indifference enters English dictionary 
AFP/Getty Images/File – Characters perform on stage at “The Simpsons” Panel during the 2008 Comic Con in San Diego, …

LONDON – At least someone is excited about “meh.”

The expression of indifference or boredom has gained a place in the Collins English Dictionary after generating a surprising amount of enthusiasm among lexicographers.

Publisher HarperCollins announced Monday the word had been chosen from terms suggested by the public for inclusion in the dictionary’s 30th anniversary edition, to be published next year.

The origins of “meh” are murky, but the term grew in popularity after being used in a 2001 episode of “The Simpsons” in which Homer suggests a day trip to his children Bart and Lisa.

“They both just reply ‘meh’ and keep watching TV,” said Cormac McKeown, head of content at Collins Dictionaries.

The dictionary defines “meh” as an expression of indifference or boredom, or an adjective meaning mediocre or boring. Examples given by the dictionary include “the Canadian election was so meh.”

The dictionary’s compilers said the word originated in North America, spread through the Internet and was now entering British spoken English.

“This is a new interjection from the U.S. that seems to have inveigled its way into common speech over here,” McKeown said. “Internet forums and e-mail are playing a big part in formalizing the spellings of vocal interjections like these. A couple of other examples would be ‘hmm’ and ‘heh.’

“Meh” was selected by Collins after it asked people to submit words they use in conversation that are not in the dictionary. Other suggestions included jargonaut, a fan of jargon; frenemy, an enemy disguised as a friend; and huggles, a hybrid of hugs and snuggles.

“Meh” is one of those fantastic all-purpose words that can mean so many things and can be used in so many different scenarios. I think its inclusion in the dictionary (granted, it’s not the Oxford English Dictionary, which is still the non plus ultraof linguistic merit) also says a lot about how language develops and is cataloged (for another post, maybe. Meh!).

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~ by Lola on November 17, 2008.

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