"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Perhaps they should try giving birth some time....

What do you suppose you get if you go to thesaurus.com and type in the word "weaker"? Well, I'll save you the trouble. You get this:

2 results for: weaker
1-2 of 2 results

Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus - Cite This Source - Share This
Main Entry: female
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: woman
Synonyms: amazon, babe, beauty, broad, cheesecake, chichi, cupcake, cutie, dame, doll, dowager, duchess, femme, filly, fox, frail, gal, gentlewoman, girl, hussy, kid, lady, madam, mama, matron, old bat, old lady, old woman, petticoat, piece, pinup, seductress, she, she-stuff, shrew, siren, sis, skirt, temptress, ten, tomato, weaker sex*, wench, wren
Antonyms: boy, male, man
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2008 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
* = informal or slang
Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus - Cite This Source - Share This
Main Entry: lady
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: woman
Synonyms: adult, babe, bag, baroness, bitch, broad, butterfly, contessa, countess, dame, doll, duchess, empress, female, gal, gentlewoman, girl, little woman, mama, mare, matron, missus, mistress, noblewoman, old bag, old lady, old woman, petticoat, princess, queen, queen bee, rib, squaw, sultana, weaker sex*
Antonyms: man
Source: Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus, First Edition (v 1.3.1)
Copyright © 2008 by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
* = informal or slang


Let's begin by pointing out that "weaker," according to the geniuses at reference.com, is synonymous with "female" and "lady." Fine, we'll say that's an unfortunate result of the algorithm that matches the word "weaker" in the search only with the same word in the synonym for these terms - namely, the "weaker sex" term. Fine, that's an unfortunate quirk in programming.

Now, let's go beyond that and look at the synonyms DIRECTLY listed for "female." Definition - "woman." Ok - that makes sense, although it's not entirely accurate, as an infant female or female nonhuman could not be called a "woman" really. And the synonyms - those are even more outrageous. We have: amazon, babe, beauty, broad, cheesecake, shrew, tomato, hussy....well, you can look back up there and read them for yourself. And the synonyms DIRECTLY listed for "lady" - I'm sorry.....bag, bitch and queen bee? Note also that the ONLY one of any of the synonyms marked as slang is "weaker sex." Apparently, "piece" or "old bat" are acceptable formal substitutes for "female." What do you think about that?

The next time your teenager is writing a paper and says, "Hey mom, what's another word for 'female'?" think about it before you send them off to thesaurus.com.

2 comments:

Kat said...

fuck Roget, fuck Noah Webster fuck em all, male chovenist pigs em all
lol

Brenda said...

Incredible! It's difficult enough to accept that "weaker" has ever been equated with "female." But, since language evolves with the times, it's harder still for me to comprehend that Roget's is still in the dark ages!