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

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 2 23:53:34 UTC 2008

I remember Senator Hickenlooper. His was one of the weird,
white-ethnic names that used to crack me up in my less-metropolitan
youth. OTOH, one of my high-school-classmates was George Hickenlooper
(All right! I confess! "Hickenlooper" *still* has me ROTFLMAO!),
father of the independent-film director, George, Jr., far-famed for
the award-winning indie film, Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade ("I
picked up a kaiser blade that was a-layin' thar by the screen door.
_Some folks call it a 'sling blade_,' I calls it a 'kaiser blade.'"),
later made into a major motion picture by Billy Bob Thornton.

For some speakers, including Robert "R." Crumb, judging by a depiction
in one of his cartoon strips, and your humble correspondent, a kaiser
blade and a sling blade are very different, the sling blade being a
heavy-duty, country-roadside, chain-gang version of a much-lighter
instrument known to some speakers as a "grass whip," used in Saint
Louis for cutting down weeds on vacant lots. The grass whip, that is,
not the sling blade.


On Thu, Oct 2, 2008 at 4:27 PM,  <RonButters at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       RonButters at AOL.COM
> Subject:      Palin isn't in MS Word's dictionary (and neither was Obama)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I'm not sure how these folks' spell-checkers work, but mine is not updated=20
> daily from Microsoft Central--it is stored in my computer. So if I want to a=
> dd=20
> "Palin," I can. But I would be very unhappy if Microsoft cookied their way i=
> nto=20
> my computer to "update" my spellchecker!
> By the way, my MS spellchecker did not come with "Hickenlooper" in it,=20
> either, and he is mayor of a much more populous city than all of Alaska--and=
>  Bourke=20
> C. Hickenlooper was one of the two senators from Iowa throughout my boyhood.=
> =20
> In a message dated 10/2/08 4:03:16 PM, gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM writes:
>> -----
>> ...
>> 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
>> Michigan
>> 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=20
>> =A0 (Google cache at
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society -
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