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Not politics: “Meh” is not only a word, it’s a great word!

At the risk of aggravating our frienemies over at City Paper, I have to take issue with Molly Eichel’s rant about the inclusion of the word “meh” in the new Collins English Dictionary.

Eichel writes:

But here’s the deal: Meh isn’t a word. It’s a sound effect. There are other onomatopoetic words in the dictionary like bam, pop or bang but those have more real world applications then the expression of fuck-if-I-care used when commenting on the Internet.

Collins English Dictionary, thanks for ruining the English language for the sake of an AP article.

She’s wrong, of course.

“Meh” isn’t onomatopoetic, first of all. Unless Eichel knows what apathy actually sounds like.

But when you use the word “meh,” you’re actually communicating. It’s a very short way of saying something like “I don’t think I agree with the statement you just made, but I don’t care enough about it (or maybe I just don’t care enough about your opinion) to make a sustained or impassioned counterargument.”

(Which, come to think of it, would probably be the smarter response to Eichel than the one I’m writing.)

So if somebody comes to you and says “I think Mayor Nutter isn’t going far enough — Philly should close ALL its libraries,” the correct response isn’t, “Pop!” It’s, “I agree.” Or “I disagree.”

Or “meh.” They’ll know exactly what you mean. “Meh” is a great word.”

  1. Apparently, your dictionary isn’t trying to teach you fake words :: The Clog :: Blog Archive :: Philadelphia City Paper :: Philadelphia Arts, Restaurants, Music, Movies, Jobs, Classifieds, Blogs Says: Nov 21 1:00 PM

    [...] the Internet.Then Joel Mathis over at his Philly Weekly Cup O’ Joel (aww, I get it!) political blog tried to start some shit:“Meh” isn’t onomatopoetic, first of all. Unless Eichel knows what apathy actually [...]

  2. Orange Orange » “Meh” Becomes a Word Says: Nov 23 1:51 PM

    [...] this announcement has caused a certain amount of support and disapproval from the blogosphere, centered around whether onomatopoeias and interjections are [...]

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