Clown World · Education

Idiocracy Rising: Dictionary Definitions

There is probably no better indicator of the intellectual decline of our culture than the status of our dictionaries and encyclopedias. The latter have completely disappeared in physical form. Their position has been taken by Wikipedia, which is constantly updated in an attempt to soil our heritage and misinform us about current events. Yet, even dictionaries are no longer seen as hallow. Just think back of how quickly the definition of the term “vaccination” was changed so that the infamous Covid mRNA gene therapy juice could be labelled a vaccination as well.

However, the quality of dictionary entries themselves also suffers. Long gone seem the days when dictionary editors had been educated to a very high standard. There is one example I recently came across that illustrates this very well. I had come across the term “letter of marque” in a book I was reading, so I looked it up, and this is what I found:

I highlighted the problem. This kind of chaining with the conjunctive “and” used to be flagged even in primary school. Today, such a rudimentary command of the English language, however, is no impediment to getting a job editing the Oxford Dictionary of English.

4 thoughts on “Idiocracy Rising: Dictionary Definitions

  1. Why don’t you buy printed dictionaries?
    Old dictionaries should be very affordable. Nobody cares about them in my country. They lie around in stacks.

    I intend to buy a Collins dictionary of German-English, but is considering because it would take some space and I may not be able to carry it to the US. The online dictionary is doing a good job but its explanation of idiomatic expressions connected to a single word is a bit unintuitive. I must use google translate to obtain a word-by-word translation, and then make a connection between that and the final explanation in Collins.

    1. I intend to get a few more printed books, mainly due to the antics of publishers who use “sensitivity readers” to rewrite even classic works. There could well be a future in which you will not be able to read any uncensored books at all, or only if you make a serious effort to find them, similar to how samizdat literature was exchanged in the Soviet Union.

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