Apple fanboys cited as Merriam-Webster herds ‘sheeple’ into dictionary

042717blog sheep
Credit: REUTERS/Marko Djurica

“Wake up!” the good folks a Merriam-Webster just tweeted. “Sheeple is in the dictionary now.”

042717blog sheeple merriam webster tweet Merriam-Webster via Twitter

And while the induction of such casual slang is sure to offend some, none will likely take great umbrage than Apple zealots, whose zealotry is cited by the dictionary as an example of the proper use of the word.

First the definition from Merriam-Webster’s website: “people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced: people likened to sheep.”

And the second of two examples:

“Apple's debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for. — Doug Criss”

That snark is from a “Today’s 5 Things” post on CNN dated Dec. 9, 2015.

Speaking of dates, it was somewhat surprising to see that Merriam-Webster traces the first known use of sheeple to 1945, which I’m fairly certain pre-dates the iPhone.

Reaction to the addition among Twitter users was a predictable mix of amusement, resignation and horror.

Wikipedia has a page devoted to the word “sheeple,” of course, and it emphasizes the political realm over the technological:

“Sheeple (a portmanteau of "sheep" and "people") is a derogatory term that highlights the passive herd behavior of people easily controlled by a governing power which likens them to sheep, a herd animal that is easily led about. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research in large part because the majority of others possess a similar mindset.”

In other words … well, I’m sure there isn’t an Apple fanboy alive who hasn’t heard it many times.

(Update: Just stumbled across news that back in 2008 Merriam-Webster bestowed distionary status upon ... fanboy.)

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