Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

March 15, 2005

A lexicographical wedgie

What do the following words have in common: blog, Botox, digital camera, chad, e-commerce, identity theft, irritable bowel syndrome, Megan's Law, paintball, sheesh, street cred, touch screen, webcast, Wi-Fi, WMD, and wedgie? The answer: Webster's dictionary now includes them. (Hat tip: Just Moi)

The word that got the most attention in the press is "wedgie." Wedgie has been a word for a long time, and it's been in Merriam-Webster's dictionary, but now it's got the endorsement of Webster's New World College Dictionary.

Wedgie, a teenager's locker-room nightmare, has made it into the dictionary. Webster's New World College Dictionary based in Cleveland said wedgie was among its new additions to its latest edition.

The new edition will carry this listing: wedgie: noun. a prank in which the victim's undershorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between the buttocks.

The dictionary also carries the tradition wedgie definition of a type of shoe.

"'Wedgie' was always a part of the high school terminology that you sort of never thought about later," said Editor in Chief Michael Agnes.

"It never really entered the mainstream until the '90s. It broke out of high school and, boy -- if you don't know what it is, you're absolutely at a loss."
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's article, which is even more puerile than Pillage Idiot, if that's possible, notes that Agnes supports a slower approach to including new words.
Agnes admitted, "We are not the first people to rush to enter new language." This conservative approach, he added, "has the advantage of giving us the confidence that we won't have to yank a word out two years later."

Plus, until the big 10-year review, adding a word or definition means squeezing in or "patching" a line or two on each page as needed.

Thus, some promising contenders were yanked from the cracks of inclusion this year.
I would be remiss, however, if I didn't try to out-puerile the Plain Dealer. So I've tracked down an account of an actual wedgie incident in Chicago last month. The actual newspaper accounts are now inaccessible, but I've found a posting at a blog called "Three Sheets to the Wind," which quotes the account of the incident:
An ordinarily harmless prank resulted in the arrests of two Chicago teenagers this week after they apparently got carried away and injured a 12-year-old by giving him repeated wedgies, CLTV reported.

The incident happened Wednesday at a Department of Children and Family Services center for wards of the state on the 800 block of West Montrose Avenue, in the Uptown neighborhood on the city's North Side, police said.

Two males, 16 and 17 years old, got into a quarrel with the younger boy and then took turns pulling up his underpants, WGN-AM 720 reported. The 12-year-old boy sustained bruises that required medical attention.

Police were called, and they arrested the two older youths.

The 17-year-old was charged with misdemeanor battery, police said. His name was not immediately available. The 16-year-old was referred to DCFS for delinquency proceedings in Cook County Juvenile Court.
Now, the folks at Three Sheets think this is unfair, because the victim was expected to recover quickly. Maybe so, but it's also rather funny.

I'll leave now by quoting a Dilbert cartoon from about 6 or 7 years ago. Here is a description of the cartoon, which is not online:

(A man is seen in a cubicle)

Man: It's time to use my speakerphone to do voice mail. I can't remember if I use the speakerphone because I'm inconsiderate or because I'm too stupid to know how annoying it is. I'll leave that question to the philosophers.

(The man switches on the speakerphone)


(In the next cubicle....)

Dilbert (typing): Dogbert, send Bob the Dinosaur quickly! **E-MAIL SENT**

(In the lobby....)

Bob the Dinosaur: I'm here to deliver a wedgie.

Security guard: Use the service elevator.

(Above the wall of the next cubicle, you see Bob yanking the man's underwear. The man screams, "AEEEE.")

(Then, at the elevator....)

Dilbert: What's the best part? The look on their faces, or the way they yell?

Bob the Dinosaur: I'll leave that question to the philosophers.

UPDATE (8/29): I've been getting a bunch of hits on this post this past month, and in all cases, the referrer is unknown. If anyone reading this feels so inclined, I'd appreciate finding out the referrer, just for my amusement. You can leave the information in the comments or email me.