16 Hilarious One-Star Reviews of the Dictionary
Haters mad. Naysayers indignant. Skeptics incensed. Detractors apoplectic.
From aardvark to zygote
Ah, Amazon reviews. The apex of literary criticism. Follow these readers as they trek through the oeuvres of Merriam, Webster, Oxford, and Urban, whose work has influenced precisely every subsequent book. For reference, here’s how words get added to the dictionary.
Worst book I’ve ever read
“This book is by far the worst story I’ve ever read. The plot is near non-existent, not a single character stays relevant for more than a paragraph, the book is almost exclusively exposition and world-building. There’s almost nothing to keep you engaged, the author clearly doesn’t understand how to tell a cohesive story. I would not recommend this to anyone who values literature! >:(” -via Amazon/customer review/Thomas Willis. Ever wonder how long it would take to read the entire dictionary like a novel?
Was not happy
“Was not happy. Per everything I have researched this book was supposed to have “Yooper” in it and did not. Spent my money for nothing.” -via Amazon/customer review/Tina Terry. Yoopers be danged, here are 15 other slang words you didn’t know were in the dictionary.
The word “gullible” has been removed
“Not recommended. The word ‘gullible’ has been removed. In this day and age of computers and digitized content, one must ask how this occurred?” -via Amazon/customer review/Peter Samson. Here’s what Airbnb reviews would look like for fictional places.
Words, words, words
“There’s no plot. No storyline. No protagonists. It’s just words, words, words.” -via Amazon/customer review/Eva Mattingly.
Band of boobs
“Steven Pinker and his band of boobs have destroyed what was the best American English dictionary available.” -via Amazon/customer reviews/Michael D. Mcgee.
“I had a co-worker ask for a definition “conclusory.” I thumbed through my Oxford American (3rd Ed.) while my neighbor thumbed through her Merriam-Webster College Dictionary (4th Ed.) and, lo and behold, she had the definition—but my Oxford did not! I was devastated and embarrassed and humiliated. There it wasn’t—concise, conclave, conclude, conclusion, conclusive—and then…*drumroll*…concoct. “Conclusory” should have been right there in between conclusive and concoct. Now I just want to curl up in a ball, hide under my desk, and disappear.” -via Amazon/customer review/James R. Cook Jr. Unsurprising, considering Oxford forgot to include one word for 50 years.
“This dictionary is great if you have no need for words that start with the letter K-M. I guess I will assume it to be a mistake, not word bigotry.” -via Amazon/customer review/Lars Angelli.
“Look up the word reins. All you get is related to the kidneys. Nothing about the straps used to control a horse or other animal. I have had friends and acquaintances warn me about the inadequacy of this dictionary.” -via Amazon/customer review/Charles van Buren.
We piss the kids off
“Junk nothing but ads now. Learning is commercial. NO DOUBT this is why the rest of the world is getting ahead of the U.S., we piss the kids off.” -via Amazon/customer review/M. Spurgeon. Here are the 13 funniest words that got added to the dictionary in the past decade. To appease the kids.
Google is free
“I bought this book because my professor said I needed it. Google is free.” -via Amazon/customer review/Mom of 4 Daughters.
An austere, barren book, product of our times, our mania for cost-cutting over other considerations
“Definitions don’t include etymology or origins of the words; no writers’ manual of style or any of the other information commonly found in quality dictionaries. This is perhaps a book that regressive (conservative American) might love (content has been rolled back to the barest necessities), a truly limited edition, much like the “limited government” many of us have allowed ourselves to be duped into thinking we want. A book truly befitting the across the board slash and burn economic policies we currently think we want.” -via Amazon/customer review/Joe R.
“I haven’t even started this and it’s already forcing me to give a review. Won’t let me cancel. So. You get one star. Thanks for the aggressive experience. Quite fabulous.” -via Amazon/customer review/haven’t finished. Next, here are 15 fascinating facts about dictionaries that will make you want to pick one up.