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Merriam-Webster uses Apple fans to define 'sheeple'

Commentary: This won't please everyone who loves their iPhone. Your devotion is officially tied to a derogatory term.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.



Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

Some companies envy the devotion that Apple fans show their gadgets.

Some humans, however, find it disturbing, hence the phrase "Apple fanboy" or, at times, "fanboi."

Now, however, Merriam-Webster has weighed in. According to a tweet late last week, the dictionary is using Apple fans to help define a derogatory term just added to the dictionary: "sheeple."

M-W first defines the word as "people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced ... people likened to sheep."

Then, it throws in the baa-humbug.

A quote shows the use of "sheeple" in a sentence: "Apple's debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone -- an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for." It's a 2015 quip from CNN's Doug Criss.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. I wonder, however, whether this may be M-W trying to grab headlines again. (Bravo, word-nerds.)

Last month, the dictionary poked at President Donald Trump for his sometimes inventive spelling. And in January, it tweeted out the definition of "fact," following Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway's reference to "alternative facts."

M-W is not the first dictionary to recognize the significance of "sheeple." It was an Oxford English Dictionary word of the day in January 2013.

Still, there may be some truth in M-W's barb.

Who can forget Samsung delighting at the sight of Apple fans lining up to collect their new gadgets every launch day? Samsung mocked them way back in 2011 in one of its finest ad campaigns.

In the end, though, who's to say which one is the brand of the people and not the brand of the sheeple?

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