1984 was not intended as an instruction manual

Unfortunately, we now live in a world in which you cannot trust the dictionary. For some time the Merriam-Webster dictionary has been giving alarming signs of increasing wokeness in its snarky social-media profile (case in point), but yesterday they took a significant new step toward Newspeak.

In her confirmation hearing, Amy Coney Barrett referred to “sexual preference” (not discriminating on the basis of), and we learned that the term is now forbidden. The politically correct term, we are told is “sexual orientation.” Many people who had not been tracking the politically-correct lexicon day-by-day were unaware of the change:

(Video by the Washington Free Beacon.)

Within the day, there was unanimity on the left about how offensive the term was. Politicians were lecturing Judge Barrett about it.

Enter the dictionary. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary had “sexual preference” as one sense of the word “preference”.

5 : ORIENTATION sense 2b // sexual preference

That put it out of step with Democrat messaging, so they changed the definition to:

5 offensive, see usage paragraph below : ORIENTATION sense 2b // sexual preference

If you visit the Wayback Machine, you see that the last time they crawled the page (September 28), the the old definition was still in place. We cannot say for absolute certain that this change was made on October 13, but some change was made on October 13:

Last Updated 12 Oct 2020

It seems extremely unlikely to be coincidence. In any case, they have not denied it. Nor indeed, have they made any comment on the controversy at all.

So we now live in a world in which the publishers of the dictionary give same-day service editing its definitions to fit the Democrat narrative. This is right out of 1984.

POSTSCRIPT: Merriam-Webster’s word of the day yesterday was an ironic choice, given what they had just done:

(Via Steve Krakauer.)

UPDATE: Dictionary.com is getting in on the act too.

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