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digitalmars.D.bugs - OT - Words

On 26/04/2008, d-bugmail puremagic.com <d-bugmail puremagic.com> wrote:
 From m-w.com:

  1  : to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous
  2  : to deny the truth or accuracy of <refuted the allegations>

  What's wrong with definition #2 in this case?  He's denying the truth or
  accuracy of your statement that it's a valid warning.
I'm British. I don't take my meanings from American dictionaries. :-) (I guess that means Andrei is entitled to use it that way though). Merriam Webster is a descriptive reference, not a proscriptive reference. It describes common usage, not formal correctness. If enough people started to use the word "toothbrush" to mean "hippopotomus", M-W would very soon list "hippopotomus" as a possible meaning for "toothbrush". Chambers, by contrast, would either not list the new meaning at all, or would list it but mark it as slang. Of course, the descriptive approach has a positive-feedback effect, because people then find the definition in a dictionary and say "See - it is a 'real' usage". Then more and more people use it. Eventually (...after decades...), it might become so prevalant that it becomes acceptable in formal English, and then you'll find it showing up in proscriptive dictionaries such as Chambers.
Apr 26 2008