Palin isn't in MS Word's dictionary (and neither was Obama)

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Thu Oct 2 20:02:50 UTC 2008


Earlier in the year we started getting messages accusing Microsoft of
a right-wing bias. The reason? When you typed 'Obama' into Microsoft
Word (and Hotmail) was marked as an incorrect spelling - worse the
suggested 'correct' spelling was 'Osama'. This has beenfixed though it
took Microsoft a surprisingly long time to sort it out.

Now it's coming from the other end of the political spectrum. A few
Office Watchers have been writing along these lines:

"Microsoft Word doesn't know how to spell 'Palin' as in the name of
the next Vice-President of the USA. To add insult the corrections are
either 'Pain' or 'Plain'. Why hasn't Microsoft fixed this? Do they
want to add to the slurs against this fine woman?" - Jeremy J from

Jeremy is right that 'Palin' isn't recognized in Word 2007 but at the
risk of getting into a political battle - there is no way that
Microsoft is engaging in any bias or attempted slur. Let's all take a
deep breath folks. There's neither conspiracy nor political bias here,
it's just Microsoft Word working as it should.

If MS Word detects a word not in its dictionaries, it will flag it
with the now-familiar red squiggly line. If you ask for suggested
spellings the program will look for dictionary words that have similar
spellings - in the case of 'Palin' the suggestions are: Plain, Paling,
Pain, Palling and "Pal in" in Word 2007.


Other US state governor names like Rell (R-Connecticut), Crist (R-
Florida), Minner (D-Delaware) and Beshear (D-Kentucky) don't make the
Word 2007 dictionary. Governor Palin wasn't omitted deliberately -
clearly being a US Governor isn't sufficient, of itself, to join the
exalted ranks of MS Word dictionary listing <g>.

 From the e-mail version of Office Watch. Full version supposedly at
  (Google cache at

The American Dialect Society -

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