Dictionaries do not win complex debates, you assholes.

Not all of you, and of course there are times when it’s appropriate to yank out a dictionary, but I’m getting sick of Argumentum ad Dictionarium, in real life, and in GD.

All dictionaries can do is help you agree on a common meaning for terms. They will NOT win a debate about anything other than the dictionary’s definition of words.

A good useage of a dictionary in a debate “Um…are we arguing the same thing? I’m going by this meaning of fletch. Are you?”

A bad useage of a dictionary in a debate “Dictionary.com defines feltching as (dictionary definition cut). So there!”

Some examples? here and here for two examples. There are LOTS more.

I say we take the next person who simply cuts and pastes a dictionary definition as a rebuttal, we stuff a copy of the OED up their ass, and let 'em look that up!


I won’t stand for anyone badmouthing Chevy Chase movies on my watch, bub!

Or maybe you meant:
Main Entry: **fletch **
Pronunciation: 'flech
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: back-formation from fletcher
Date: circa 1656
: FEATHER <fletch an arrow>


This OED?

*abbr. *
Oxford English Dictionary.

: D&R :


I love the film “Fletch”!!

[sub]d & r[/sub]

>> A good useage of a dictionary …

would be to check your spelling? yes? :wink:

Allow me to be the first not to duck and run.

It’s a subset of semantic games, and it is very annoying. Sure, there are plenty of times where the OED can clear things up, but catching someone with an incorrect definition or expressing a valid opinion in words that could have been better chosen does not necessarily end a debate. And what the fuck is this business with beginning a debate with a simple definition? I have reference books, and don’t remember signing up for any classes this semester. People who can’t phrase a debate in their own words should shuffle off to IMHO, IMHO.

Love the film Fletch? Love the FILM Fletch!!!

You shmucks. Go posthaste to your local library or bookstore and get the real thing. Gregory McDonald. It’s excellent, as are many of the sequals.

Sure, we’ve heard this before.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

“Dictionaries don’t win debates, people win debates.”
Right wing loony.

Would that be the 1st Edition, or the second with the Supplements?:eek:

Depends what you mean by “Dictionary”.

From the Webster’s Collegiate:

So I think you’re wrong.

<ducking and running>

I suppose a dictionary is appropriate when the debate topic is merely semantic, e.g., Is the United States government, by pure definition, a terrorist organistation?

This sort of wordplay exercise is pretty pointless IMHO. It reminds me of my late Uncle Abe, who used to enjoy debating, Is Marilyn Monroe an Intellectual?

With the wisdom gained from the SDMB, I finally realize that the proper answer is, “Yes,” provided intellectual is defined as someone with big tits.:smiley:

well, you know I agree.

Dictionaries can give a common usage of the term. Doesn’t mean, of course, that is the definitive answer. Words evolve and need to be seen in context. So, for example, when one uses the word ‘gay’ one may mean a host of different things, some of which are not in the dictionary (those in the under 22 set seem to be using it as a synonym to ‘lame’, ‘nonsensical’, ‘bullshit’ ‘I don’t like that’ sort of thing).

And for some one to attempt to say that since dictionary.com says this, that’s the only possible use of the word, is, well idiotic in TheReal Sense.

Especially when Inspector Flynn branches off into his own series.

I still love the movie Fletch, too, though, because I probably would not have picked up with books without it.

First & foremost - yeah, I agree with you, Fenris.

Lemme expand (more like blatantly hijack) for a sec.

[/blatant hijack]

I’m an English major. I’m fairly well-read & happen to know all manner of $10 words…Not only do I know 'em, but I use’em in conversation, much to many people’s dismay. I don’t use’em 'cause I think I’m some big shit. They simply pop into my brain as being the most appropriate word. I even use words that I (mistakenly) assume most college-aged people are familiar with. I figure they’re maybe $5 - $7 words. :rolleyes:

Ticks me off that I have to dumb down what I’m saying because some folks - a great number, I think - refuse to expand their vocabularies for longer than it takes to complete the verbal section of the SAT.

For example; I’m a member of my campus’ chapter of NYPIRG, an activist group. One day I was talking to a potentially interested guy about the different committes we have within the larger group (homeless outreach, environmental action, etc.). I told him he could “…complete the info card and check off any committes whose objectives are paramount to you”. As a friend put it, his eyes almost crossed when I said “paramount”. I had to explain what I meant, which I think ought not to have been necessary.

My point is; perhaps some people, when they use seemingly obscure/unecessary words, are simply saying what they think. Others, who use OED definitions as replies to arguments/posts are simply trying to ‘sound intelligent’.

[/end blatant hijack] :stuck_out_tongue:

Turns out december is right:

I’m impressed :smiley:

Cosmopolitan, you don’t know the half of it. I teach/am about to teach English, and during my student teaching I was forced to face just how small your bright ninth graeer’s vocabularies are. Screw reading literature, I don’t know how these kids watch TV: they must just blur out wohle exchanges that they don’t understand, and concentrate o n the pretty moving pictures.

I used the word “confide” on a test for an advanced level English class. In both classes I had multiple people raising their hands and asking what it meant.


Don’t tell me these things…I’m currently preparing for a career as a secondary education English teacher. Am I doomed, DOOMED!? Nah. I’ll just have to whip the little bastards into shape, is all. Heh heh. Well, I’ll have to move first, I guess - corporal punishment’s not legal in New York, far as I know. :wink:

Yes, but they are people with dictionaries!

Maybe not your dictionary, but my dictionary kicks my butt during debates all the time.

Flynn is definately the bomb, and Confess, Fletch is the best of the series. I stopped reading at Fletch and the Man Who because the quality was going down I figured (or maybe the novelty was wearing off.)

Hijack? You’re soaking in it.

The Man Who