Merriam-Webster's 'Sheeple' Definition Uses Apple Fanboys Example

Merriam-Webster just stepped in a bit of controversy with its new 'sheeple' word addition. No, it's not the addition of the word itself that is causing the arguments and hurt feelings — it's the two examples of the word that it provides, one of which is a criticism of (a certain) Apple product and the people who buy/bought it. Not familiar with sheeple? The dictionary defines it as such: "People who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced."

Merriam-Webster tweeted out the new addition yesterday, pointing toward the 'sheeple' word. It's not unusual for the dictionary to add new words based on their popular usage in the English language. Various dictionaries (and Scrabble) have followed suit, adding words like selfie, chillax, hashtag, vlog, and more.

In Merriam-Webster's case, the dictionary includes usage examples of words in addition to providing a definition. This helps users understand the context in which a word may be used, and to help shed light on the nuances of its usage. While steeple is typically used in a political sense, it also gets tossed around quite a bit when iPhone-vs-Android arguments arise.

In this case, the dictionary decided to use a quote from CNN technology journalist Doug Criss that reads: "Apple's debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for." Is Merriam-Webster itself calling Apple buyers sheeple? No. But that hasn't stopped many sensitive people from lashing out about the inclusion regardless.

Note: The excellent photo above comes from this old-ish Lumia commercial