For those of you who don't know, I'm not just a writer. I've spent most of my life studying, teaching, and editing the written word. I can't get enough of it, which is pretty funny when you think about the fact that I'm somewhat hindered in my ability to use said language verbally. (Yes, I'm socially awkward. :p )
I'm a professional line editor, which means I tell writers the correct way to "do things," so to speak. Not everyone likes it, trust me. I hear more negative comments about line editors than I do about bad reviewers. Writers don't want to be told their sentence is grammatically incorrect and therefore so dang confusing I can't understand what they are talking about. They don't want to be told that they've referred to two different characters as "he" in a sentence and therefore I can't figure out who is doing what. I totally understand--I get a bit "rabid" about my own prose--but still, some things are just necessary for comprehension, people! :)
Where was I? Oh...
So when I saw a comment on Facebook the other day about something being a "real" word, it got my attention (most things like this do). An author on my friends' list was teasing their fellow writer about a certain word ("friggin") being "real" because they'd found it on Urban Dictionary. She's right, it is a real word, though it is actually "frigging" (see definition in Merriam-Webster) or "friggin'" if you're from the South like me, but still, even though I knew they were joking around, I cringed. Ach! Not Urban Dictionary! It's the bane of my existence, people, seriously. It's like telling a historian you got information off Wikipedia--watch out for the seizure! Really, it is, because anyone can add a definition or example sentence (and I've seen some doozies!) to the website, and no one polices it for accuracy. Take a look at this:
Urban Dictionary Word of the Day, July 26, 2013 -- Moronimated: "something so dumb it has to be animated. Axe Cop's Sockarang is moronimated."
Or how about: Urban Dictionary Word of the Day, July 30, 2013 -- Almost-quaintance: "a person to whom one has at one point sent a successful social networking friends request or from whom one has accepted such request. 'I really need to clean up my facebook friends list; my news feed is painful to scroll through: It's full of so many strangers' bullshit.' 'Yeah, gotta' love those almost-quaintances!'"*
How about "snice," which apparently means "combination of snow and ice." Followed by the clear example of "Man, the dog just came in covered in snice. Awesome!"
And "January," "Everyone's favorite month!!! playing in the snow, snuggling by the fire, and having excuse for ur penis looking so small."
<choking on my own combination right now--of laughter and, yeah, laughter>
The term "blowjob" has many definitions on Urban Dictionary, many of which start with sentences like "The best part of sex ever." and "An act of awesomeness." Worthy of Merriam Webster, let me tell ya. And that doesn't include the entries around "blowjob," like "Blow Job A La Mode" (all capitalized--must be extra special!) and "blowjobalicious." How about "blowjobalotstanka" and "blowjobbery" (actually I think that one was spelled as two words, "blow jobbery," which must make it right, right?)? Seriously? Not to mention the examples, such as "Thnx, babe, that was the best blow job I ever did get." Oh the inhumanity!!! The--wait, "inhumanity" isn't a real word; it isn't defined yet on Urban Dictionary. The fuckupery! The fuckupance--sorry, fuck-upance!
Oh. My. God.
Seriously, folks, Urban Dictionary can be great for a laugh, it really can (as evidenced above :) ). I think most of us get that, and that's how we take it (as a joke). But do you know how many people take it as gospel? How many people refuse to use any other dictionary? How many authors I've seen in line edits who've sited Urban Dictionary as proof that what they wrote is correct? Um, no, it's not. Despite what every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants to post on Urban Dictionary (Tom, Dick, and Harry are "three young men that can be blamed for gay habits," by the way), it's not right. Not. Even. Close.
As casual as our world has become about everything from fashion to dating habits to what we can say on television, I do believe some standards give us a baseline for societal discourse. Personally, we may choose to meet it or not, but it's there.
Or maybe not, since according to UD, "baseline" is "the bare minimum standard that a girl must be at or exceed when considering fornication." Or "a sequence of low growling notes strategically played by nick beard, of the band Circa Survive, on his ernie ball music man stingray base guitar." (Apparently band names require capitalization but people names do not.)
*Please note all grammar/punctuation errors were copied directly from the site and have abso-friggin'-nothing to do with me!