More begrudgery


Contrarian has some highbrow friends, including Mike Targett, who weighs into the begrudgery debate quoting Wittgenstein:  “The meaning of a word is its use in the language.”

That is the classic formulation of descriptivism, the reigning philosophy among lexicographers. The trouble with descriptivism is that it leads to definitions like this one, from Merriam-Webster: “biweekly: 1. occurring twice a week; 2. occurring every two weeks.” It’s true, people use biweekly to mean both things, but sometimes you need a prescriptive dictionary to tell you what a word really means. I’m with Lindsay Brown on that score.