Thursday, December 15, 2022

Brendan O'Neill: The woke war on truth

The Cambridge Dictionary’s redefinition of the word woman is a gross assault on reality.

Now even the dictionary is lying to us. The Cambridge Dictionary has updated its definition of the word woman to include men. A woman is now any adult ‘who lives and identifies as female’ even if they had a ‘different sex at birth’. That is, even if they’re blokes. Even if they sport a pair of testicles. Even if they’re one of those human beings we’ve referred to as men for millenia.

According to the literal dictionary, the book that’s meant to explain clearly and accurately what words mean, the word woman can include those people, too. And just like that, with the swipe of a lexicographer’s pen, a word that has existed in one form or another for the entirety of human civilisation, for the express purpose of referring to an adult human female, is hollowed out, rendered meaningless, abolished, essentially.

They’ve done the same for man. You thought a man was an adult human male, a boy who has reached maturity? Think again. Sure, the word man refers to adult human males, the Cambridge Dictionary graciously admits, but it also refers to anyone who ‘lives and identifies as male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth’. In short, man means man but also woman, when a woman says she’s a man. What next, Cambridge? War means war except when it means peace?

I checked if the Cambridge Dictionary has a definition for ‘post-truth’. It does. That refers to a situation ‘in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts’, it says. Like accepting the bonkers belief that men can be included in the category of woman, because that belief feels nice and virtuous and is likely to win you a hearty pat on the back from the woke? You mean that kind of post-truth?

People will slam the Cambridge Dictionary’s unilateral redefinition of the words man and woman as wokeness gone mad. And it is that. But it’s so much more. This act of linguistic manipulation, this imperious decree that woman can mean man and man can mean woman, also represents an assault on reality itself, on the right of communities to use words as they are meant to be used and to define themselves in the manner they have been doing so since the beginning of recorded time.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer. This article was first published HERE


EP said...

Can't be worried really. I guess there have always been poor sad people of tenuous grasp on reality - more to be pitied and despised than feared. I know there seem to be a lot of them, and for all their lack of substance, they do seem to have a pompous little sense of self-importance - but come on - they are drongos right?

Anonymous said...

I can feel the outrage in your words and I can feel the outrage rising inside myself. Thank goodness though that we have people like you who are watching and listening and ready to pounce. It's a bit cat and mouse at this moment in time but I think the cats will gang up on the mice when the mice become too pesky. And there's nothing post-truth about that outcome.

Anonymous said...

Madness. One would have to wonder how those making this decision identify??

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

A dictionary in the English tradition is supposed to reflect common usage. They should not dictate meanings of words as in the continental European tradition. The overwhelming majority of English speakers continue to use 'woman' to denote a human adult female . The dictionary is therefore out of order with regard to its own traditions regarding the meaning of words.