back to article Malware infects Merriam-Webster

Worshippers at the altar of Jobs rejoice: Merriam-Webster's latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary has embraced fanboys among more than 100 new entries gracing its updated pages. Interestingly, Merriam-Webster has identified the first fanboy in an English language publication as far back as 1919, albeit in the sense of " …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web 2.0?

    So, the real question. Do they have a single definitive definition of web 2.0?

  2. David Mery


    Homophonic translations are mondegreens per excellence. My favourite is “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” becoming “Un singe de beauté est un jouet pour l’hiver!”. Oulipians have created many. There's also the excellent book: "Mots D'Heures: Gousses, Rames - The D'Antin Manuscripts".

    br -d

  3. Jerry

    Rabbits Ears

    I was calling the sinistro-dextral bi-digital gesture "Rabbits' Ears" long before '89 with it's offensive newby "air quotes". I received the wisdom on Rabbits' Ears as a long held tradition stretching back into the mists of time.

    I will only grant one concession, the fingers for Rabbits' Ears were distinctly bent over. If the 'air quotes" are similar then they are a forgery. If however, they mimic the famous Churchilian dual V for victory sign then perhaps it is a sign-language dialect change?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Isn't "fanboy" just a slightly more insulting way of saying "fan". It doesn't really embrace a new concept in any way.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it only apply to song titles?

    When my wife asked where our son was I said "He's gone to see Harry Potter". She heard, "He's gone to see a reporter". We went through this a few times and when she finally understood she then asked "The actor or the real one?" Therefore, I think I'll remain anonymous.

  6. Dave Jones

    Hendrix said it best....

    'Scuse me while I kiss this guy!

  7. Ron Eve
    Paris Hilton

    Bee Gees

    "More than a woman" > "Bald headed woman"

    Hendrix was best though...

    I did catch my girlfriend out the other day though:

    "Tickle your arse with a feather" says I

    "I beg your pardon???"

    "Particularly nasty weather..."

    (she laughs) "You'll never believe what I thought you said!!"


    Yeah well, I was a bit bored at the time...

    Paris as she's been up for a bit of arse-tickling from time to time.

  8. Andrew Norton

    is webster...

    still nicking u's from words that should have them

    livening up the printers days by replacing S with Z

    making up etymologies to fit in with a christian world (if the facts don't fit, make up new facts)

    You've no idea how many times I've submitted work to my editor or publisher, and had them change words to fit the 'american spelling'. Worse, they're dutch, so a lot of proper words aren't even in the american dictionary files (only a few $5 words, and none beyond $7)

    To quote Rupert Grint in thunderpants: "I speak with clarity and precision". Around here, it's more "git R dun!"

  9. RW

    @ AC re "fanboy"

    AC: "Isn't "fanboy" just a slightly more insulting way of saying "fan"? It doesn't really embrace a new concept in any way."

    By no means is the lexicon in one-to-one correspondence with "concepts." In this case, while the two words cover pretty much the same conceptual territory, "fanboy" carries a pejorative, derogatory connotation that mere "fan" lacks. Or to put it another way, it's the "slightly more insulting" element that entitles "fanboy" to its place in the dictionary.

    "Fanboy" is an example of a language expressing very delicate shades of meaning. They all do it of course, and adding words to the lexicon is by no means the only mechanism, though it's a favorite approach in English and is one of the reasons English has such a large vocabulary.

  10. Unkle Al
    Paris Hilton

    Who mondegreen

    The first time I heard the Who song "Eminence Front", I thought they were saying "Living in a swamp".

    How come people don't remember that fan is short for fanatic ?

    PH because she'll never live in a swamp.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    But they spelt 'fanboi' wrong!

    That's pretty bad for a dictionary!

  12. Steve Smith

    yet another

    ... suddenly somebody's there at the turnstile. A girl with colitis goes by...

    Slow day.

  13. Stu
    Paris Hilton

    Bliiiinded By The Light

    Wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night.

    Okay, "Rev'ed up like a Deuce, another..." (Deuce = Deuce Coupe = Ford '32 Coupe)

    Paris, well, because...

  14. Michael

    She's got a ticket/chicken to ride

    Even if "fanboy" had nothing to differentiate it from fan, that doesn't make it any less its own word. I think you'll find both "big" and "large" in the dictionary as well. It's not about recording the preferred word used to convey a particular idea - it's about an accurate record of defined words.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Reverend Blue Jeans

    Never mind CCR, my Dad always thought Neil Diamond was singing about Reverend Blue Jeans, not Forever in Blue Jeans.

    I think half of his generation misunderstood just about all of Elvis Presley's lyrics too.

  16. Tom
    Paris Hilton

    @AC re:fanboy

    replace "slightly" with "significantly" and you will be closer to the truth, as in 'Suck it up and get over it fanboy!'.

    Also, I think that at least here in The States, "fan" comes more from comics and sci-fi subcultures whereas "fanboy" comes from the anime/japanimation one.

    Paris, because she provides fanboy service!

  17. Mike Flugennock

    Fan vs. Fanboy/i

    I'd always learned "fan" was originally short for "fanatic" (of course) and described someone who's really into a certain actor/actress/tv show/band/whatever in general, but not necessarily perjorative.

    I didn't hear "fanboy" much until the early '90s, as a derisive term for people -- usually teen-agers -- who took fandom waaaaaayy too seriously, usually in the SciFi/Comix "Con" community. (remember the old SNL bit with Mark Hamill at a big SciFi Con, trying to give a straight Q&A talk on the making of the original "Star Wars" and this one kid busts into the scene and starts talking to Hamill as if he really were Skywalker...?)

    Btw, I thought I'd totally mis-heard that one line in "Aqualung" until a few years later, when a British friend of mine confirmed that yes, Ian Anderson is actually saying "dog end".

  18. Daniel

    wasn't there a website ...

    ... with flash animations of Pavarotti singing about elephants, stuff like that?

    I found it particularly amusing*. Nearly snorted me tea through me nose.

    *or "amuzing", you septics.

    @Andrew - funny thing is that the yanx kind of thort rushing inn thair and "fixing" Inlish spelling would be a nice 5 minit projekt to taik onn in bitween othur stuff.

    Thay got as far as "color" and "aluminum" and gaiv up. Anywun notiss a patturn thair ... ? fucking lightweights.

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