The release of the new edition of Merriam Webster’s is always an exciting time for literary and grammar nerds alike. As language changes, so does the dictionary. Culture itself adapts over the years, and language is constantly shifting to reflect that. New words are added and old words are thrown out. I mean who even knows what a “linen” is? Certainly no millennial.
Along with the greeting of new additions and the farewell to the outdated such as “on fleek” and “bae”, come some words and phrases that are redefined and updated for the current times. This year the most notable was the phrase “Don’t Tell Anyone”.
Although “Don’t Tell Anyone” historically meant that the information about to be delivered from one person to another was “confidential,” times have certainly changed, and a Merriam-Webster spokesperson said the definition needed updating.
After a number of complaints from people who felt that their trust was betrayed, Merriam Webster finally settle the score on the popular phrase. Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for the company, stated “the phrase in question has clearly evolved to mean ‘don’t tell anyone, besides the two people you’re invariably going to tell.'” These two people range in identity from your nosy coworker Amanda, to your boyfriend who is only half listening to you, to your mom when you’re trying to avoid talking about your impending job hunt.
I mean if your friend Marisa tells you she is leaving her boyfriend for Anit, clearly you must immediately tell Amanda whose roommate Jung-Hee works with Anit. That is just good manners.
Sokolow says they’re still considering whether or not “your entire group of friends waiting for Marisa to get to the bar” counts as one entity or not.
Along with this change, Merriam Webster also updated “I’m sorry I have a boyfriend” to “Stop hitting on me creep.”