Google Gets Dictionary-ized
Those in charge of Google’s trademark are kicking their desks as the brand identity they’ve fought so hard to protect from genericization through nasty letters and emails to everyone who dared assume “to google” meant “to search” (wow! This is one long sentence) officially became a verb by being admitted to the dictionary.
The verb “to google” was entered into the newest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (which we all know from junior high has all the dirty words in it) alongside “manga,” “mouse potato,” “ring tone” and, er, “bling.”
The lexicographers at Merriam Webster honored the genericide task force’s request to make it clear that googling something means “to use the Google search engine” and not, say, Yahoo!
Though, as I’ve discussed before, it seems doubtful that Google will go the feared route of Kleenex or Xerox, as the power of the dotcom will save us from thinking we can google at Ask.com.
And much to Microsoft’s chagrin, a very small percentage of the search population MSNs anything, and they probably still call it “googling.”
2006 is the 200th anniversary (word-nerds call it a bicentennial) of America’s first official dictionary, put together in 1806 by Noah Webster.
Webster’s A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language included new oddities like “electrician,” “opossum,” “psychology,” and “surf.” Webster also “Americanized” (also a new word in 1806) many English words: omitting the “u” from words like “behaviour” or “colour,”; and rearranging the “e” and the “r” in words like “theatre” and “centre.”
He also proposed changing “women” to “wimmin,” which didn’t stick for obvious reasons.