Beyonce and "the dictionary"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Mar 9 15:24:11 UTC 2006

At 5:49 AM -0800 3/9/06, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>"The budding linguist" !    Beyonce' is awesome and all that, OK,
>but in the total context,  that phrase sums up much of what is
>*wrong* with American education.
>   Think about it.
>   JL

Well, they *could* have referred to her as a cunning one.


>Benjamin Zimmer <bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU> wrote:
>   ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: Benjamin Zimmer
>Subject: Beyonce and "the dictionary"
>So let's see... "bootylicious" got an OED draft entry in Sep. 2004
>(and it's also in the latest editions of the Oxford Dictionary of
>English and the New Oxford American), but I guess Beyonce's people are
>just hearing about it now. And they're telling her she invented it.
>And tabloid "news" outlets take her at her word. Hey, she's Beyonce,
>clearly an authority on "the dictionary"!
>See ,
>which currently finds 26 articles like this one:
>Beyonce's boost
>March 09, 2006
>CURVY women around the world will soon have an official term for their
>bouncy butts, thanks to R'n'B diva Beyonce.
>Bootylicious, the term coined by the former Destiny's Child star for
>her own dangerous curves - and made famous by the hit single of the
>same name - will reportedly be added to the dictionary.
>But the Naughty Girl singer is not too impressed by her newfound
>status as a wordsmith.
>"I'm not very proud of that. It's in the dictionary - it's crazy," she
>said to Britain's TV Hits magazine.
>The 24-year-old, who is famous for her hot hip-shaking in film clips
>for songs such as Crazy In Love, says she would have stuck it out and
>put more thought into the term if she had known it would be recorded
>in the lexicon.
>"I wrote the song, but I wish there was another word I could have come
>up with if I was going to have a word in the dictionary," she said to
>the pop mag.
>The budding linguist, who is dating rap king Jay-Z, hasn't yet had a
>chance to see if the dictionary's definition is by the book, but she
>has offered her own spin on the word.
>"I don't know what it says in the dictionary but my definition is
>beautiful, bountiful and bounce-able," she said.
>--Ben Zimmer
>The American Dialect Society -
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