The AP wants us to know that the Merriam-Webster definition of “anti-vaxxer” as “a person who opposes the use of vaccines or regulations mandating vaccination” is not related to the current pandemic and that this new definition is only a “small tweak from the previous language”:
Social media posts are highlighting that Merriam-Webster's definition of "anti-vaxxer" now includes those who oppose “regulations mandating vaccination.” But the posters neglect to note it's only a small tweak from previous language. Here are the facts. https://t.co/vqZzi3UC8e
— AP Fact Check (@APFactCheck) December 8, 2021
You see, this totally BS definition of “anti-vaxxer” that includes people who oppose vaccine mandates is from at least 2018. From the AP:
An archived version of the definition from November 2018 shows the definition of “anti-vaxxer” was “a person who opposes vaccination or laws that mandate vaccination.”
The current Merriam-Webster definition of “anti-vaxxer” is “a person who opposes the use of vaccines or regulations mandating vaccination.” The updated entry also adds after the main definition: “especially : a parent who opposes having his or her child vaccinated.”
In a statement to The Associated Press, Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster editor at large, said the initial entry for “anti-vaxxer” was added online on Feb. 28, 2018, and that it was revised this year, on Oct. 4, as “part of the regular updates to the online dictionary.”
“The reason for the change from ‘laws’ to ‘regulations’ is that overwhelming citational evidence shows that this term is used regarding vaccine policies for school districts, restaurants, concert venues, and bars, and that many of these policies are not laws,” Sokolowski said.
Guys, you’ve missed the point:
Don't get it mixed up. The contention people have is with the definition itself. It doesn't matter if it came before or after COVID. That argument is a diversion.
Saying "we expanded the definition to something stupid before x event" still makes it a stupid definition. https://t.co/MJskwHrgwE
— Chillerdew (@Chillerdew) December 9, 2021
And the is that there are many who are pro-vaccine but anti-mandate:
Its definition is WRONG. One can be pro-vaccine, and still be against a government mandate. That doesn't make you an "anti-vaxxer" (a person who is opposed to vaccination, typically a parent who does not wish to vaccinate their child). THAT is why it's bullshit, journos. https://t.co/Ni9QX7Mop2
— Sarcastic Cupcake (@SarcasticCupcak) December 9, 2021
And moving from “laws” to “regulations” isn’t what we’d call a “small” tweak:
A small tweak? A SMALL TWEAK?
You are pathological https://t.co/RiWt5WuXcM
— Agamemnon López (@tasmaniacal1) December 9, 2021
I'm not a smart fella, so humor me for a sec: isn't this the main point of contention? That the meaning of the word has been massively extended, to the point where it now applies to an ever-growing number of personal and social attitudes way beyond the original scope? https://t.co/3TLYAgEqEL pic.twitter.com/9v2C7sScw2
— ritardatario (@ritardatario1) December 9, 2021
But, hey, keep up the good work, “thought police”:
Thanks, Thought Police.
Good to know you're on patrol. https://t.co/INgFD2FbC9
— FOTA (Friend Of The Australians) (@FAustralians) December 9, 2021
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