Defining Womyn (and Others)

Random House's new dictionary is gender neutral, politically correct -- and an English-lover's disappointment

Dictionaries are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true.

Samuel Johnson should be living at this hour; the English language has need of him. Though he was never at a loss for words, the great lexicographical drudge would probably be confounded to read the new Random House Webster's College Dictionary. It is bugled as "the New Definition of Dictionary," the "newest, biggest and best."

Newest, yes; biggest, yes -- for a college dictionary (180,000 entries). As for best, it may be said that this dictionary goes like Dr. Johnson's watches....

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