In the land Downunder you see the name “Macquarie” around quite a bit, especially for places and such.
This is because back in the early 1800’s we got a new Governor from Great Britain for our then penal colony, New South Wales.
This man was Lachlan Macquarie.
He was sent out to stabilise the colony which was governed by Captain William Bligh – yes, THAT Captain Bligh from “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame.
So it is not all that surprising that in Australia we have our own dictionary of English and local colloquialisms – The Macquarie Dictionary.
I used to think this was a good idea when it first appeared, but look what the editors have decided to do now.
Two words bother them: ‘sexist’ and ‘misogyny’.
These words are a big part of PM Julia Gillard’s vocabulary when she is referring to the leader of Australia’s conservative party [which confusingly is named the Liberal Party] – Mr Tony Abbott.
Mr Abbott, by any definition, is neither of the above. A happily married man, three daughters, a female secretary and he is a Rhodes Scholar!
I wonder if the editors were pressured to do this?
And I am amazed at how low the Left is capable of going. I know, I know…I really shouldn’t be any more!
Each day we hear more and more, not just in Australia but any other Western country.
Seems to me some of our politicians should be residing in a penal colony right now!
Seriously – you cannot make this stuff up!!
I’ll leave the rest to Andrew Bolt:
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s celebrated and deplored speech against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has prompted the national dictionary to redefine the word misogyny from meaning solely hatred of women to include a deep prejudice as well.
Ms Gillard branded Mr Abbott a hypocritical misogynist last week …
So the Macquarie Dictionary’s five core authors decided on Tuesday the word needed two definitions, seeing as the continuing political debate on “misogyny and sexism” had catapulted it into the vernacular…
“Misogyny was strict hatred of women and it probably does need a second definition to cover entrenched prejudices of women, as opposed to an out and out fundamental horror at women,” dictionary editor Sue Butler told The Australian Financial Review…
The widening will bring Macquarie closer to definitions from Oxford and dictionary.com while re-energising Ms Gillard’s backers.
But it will put Macquarie at odds with at least six other major dictionaries which define misogyny as purely a hatred of women.
If Gillard’s misuse of language inspires Macquarie to redefine words, here’s a few more changes it should make
- Carbon – now to also mean carbon dioxide.
- Carns – alternative pronunciation of Cannes.
- Dungeon – the new pronunciation of “dudgeon”.
- Hyperbole – now to be pronounced “hyper-bowl”.
- Intercept – to now mean to act as a taxi. Alternative meaning: to welcome.
(Ed: A reference to our Navy rescuing drowning illegal immigrants – “boat people” – from Indonesia and elsewhere. Needless to say most if not all are Muslims who pay people smugglers about $10,000 because they are ‘refugees’! Some are Tamil Tigers.)
- Promise – now to mean what you say you’ll do until it suits you to do the opposite.
- Taliband – alternative noun for Taliban.
- Tenant – now to also mean “tenet”.
JULIA Gillard’s furious description of Tony Abbott as a “misogynist” appears to be shifting the meaning of the word not just in Australia but internationally.
Following the decision of Macquarie Dictionary to broaden the meaning of misogyny from “hatred of women” to “entrenched prejudice against women”, US dictionary Merriam-Webster says it is also following the debate in Australia closely and will examine it in the context not only of the way in which “misogyny” is now generally used, but also the word “hatred”.
Merriam-Webster associate editor Kory Stamper told The Australian this morning, “We’ve been following this news closely, as you may expect.
“It’s helpful to know first that at Merriam-Webster, we base all our definitions on a word’s use in written English prose.
“As a word’s use changes, so do our definitions. In order to determine whether ‘hatred of women’ is an adequate definition, then, we need to start with a survey of the current and historical uses of ‘misogyny’ in print.
“A quick review of our citational evidence shows that ‘misogyny’ has been used to refer to a very broad range of behaviours, attitudes, policies, and so on.
“So, our goal as lexicographers is to write a definition that is broad enough to convey this range of meaning without being so broad as to be unhelpful.
“That means that this is as much a discussion of the meaning of ‘hatred’ as it is a discussion of the meaning of ‘misogyny’.
“We can’t speak to the definitions given in the Macquarie Dictionary, but we can speak to our own.
“If one assumes that ‘hatred’ refers only to a feeling of intense dislike, then we would agree that ‘hatred of women’ does not cover the range of meaning that the word ‘misogyny’ has been used with.
“Our definition of ‘hatred’ is broader than just a general feeling of dislike though: sense 2 as given in our Online Dictionary also covers prejudiced hostility.
“Lexicographers use words very intentionally, and quite a bit of thought goes into every definition a lexicographer writes.
“That said, no dictionary definition is set in stone. We will continue to gather evidence of the word ‘misogyny’ in use, and compare our definition against that use.”
There is no word yet from the great authority, Oxford.
- Canberra Times: Macquarie outruns word herds with take on misogyny
- The Australian: War of words as misogyny redefined
“When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom.”
– Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC) Chinese thinker and social philosopher