I find it funny how many people on the left absolutely worship the dictionary, as though they have no clue what the dictionary actually is. We see this most commonly from feminists who love to quote the dictionary definition of feminism and then… go do something entirely different.
But today I ran into a self-identified liberal who didn’t really like that I was calling out liberals for things he didn’t seem to think were particularly liberal. So he trots out the dictionary definition of liberal, then goes on to present his own positions that are 180-degree diametrically opposed from the dictionary definition.
These people need to realize that the dictionary doesn’t define words, the dictionary provides common usage. The dictionary isn’t proscriptive, it’s descriptive. That’s why dictionaries change definitions all the time and add entirely new words, because the general public changes how it uses words and invents new ones. Therefore, the dictionary doesn’t actually tell you what words mean, that’s done by linguistic etymology, it just tells you the current usage of a particular set of sounds that come out of your mouth.
That means that it all depends on which dictionary you look at as to what definition of a word you actually get. If you find a dictionary published in the 1970s, you’re not going to get a modern definition of “feminism”. There are such dictionaries online, like this one, the Webster’s Dictionary from 1828. Look up “liberal” and compare it to a modern dictionary. The word “feminism” didn’t even exist at that time. It’s interesting to see how words have changed over almost 200 years.
Regardless, just because the dictionary says something doesn’t make it actually so. As I said before, feminists will point to the dictionary definition, then go off and talk about gay rights and transgender issues, none of which fits with the dictionary definition of feminism. They will scream about the “political, social, and economic equality to men” and when it’s pointed out that they already have all of that, they freak out. There simply are no legally demonstrable rights that women lack that men have. The reverse is entirely not the case, but women are, in every single way imaginable, entirely equal to men. These special little snowflakes have just been indoctrinated to believe otherwise and not ask questions because, just like religion, if you ask questions, you’re just asking for trouble.
The dictionary doesn’t actually prove anything. It certainly doesn’t prove that your actions fit any particular dictionary definition. It just proves that lots of people use that word in a particular way. So what? If people started calling dogs “horses”, in a generation, the dictionary definition of “horse” would have a picture of a dog next to it. Does that make a dog a horse? I don’t think so.