Merriam Webster recently changed the definition of “Don’t tell anyone” to “You can tell Two people” and the internet is having it’s own day. As crazy as it sounds, it’s true that when you tell anyone to not tell anyone, the secret is out as soon as you step away.
If you don’t know, Merriam Webster is America’s most trusted online dictionary and times like these excite nerds and grammar nazis alike.
It is true that our vocabulary now is only a third of what it was a thousand years ago and rightly so, the culture has been adapting itself over time.
A bunch of new words were added and some old ones were thrown out. While we bid farewell to “bae” and “on fleek”, new words replaced them. Some phrases were even redefined and edited. The most notable of these was “Don’t tell anyone”. Although, the literal meaning of the phrase would be to “not tell a single soul”, the meaning of this phrase has changed a lot and it’s, now, almost similar to “you can tell two people”. According to the spokesperson of Merriam Webster, the definition has changed and needed updating.
The editor for the company said, “the phrase in question has clearly evolved to mean ‘don’t tell anyone, besides the two people you’re invariably going to tell.”
These two people can be your annoying neighbor who keeps pestering you or the boyfriend who you share every tiny detail with, including how much you pooped that day. Or they can be your mother who thinks you’re on some sort of drugs and you need to tell her otherwise.
Sokolow said that they are still considering whether or not the phrase “your entire group of friends waiting for Marisa to get to the bar” counts as one or not.
Apart from this update, Merriam Webster changed:
“I’m sorry I have a boyfriend” to “Stop hitting on me, creep.”