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We Refuse to Accept Merriam-Webster Putting ‘Doggo’ on Its Words-to-Watch List

Just before the New Year, Merriam-Webster tweeted out one of the most ridiculous tweets we’ve seen in a long time. Apparently, the country’s most trusted dictionary has added the internet term “doggo” to its “Words We’re Watching” list.

If you’re unaware of the term, kudos to you for steering clear of the silly little trend that NPR has referred to as “DoggoLingo” or “doggo-speak.” Apparently, there are many, many dog-lovers online who enjoy affectionately referring to their adorable furry friends as “doggos” — and Merriam-Webster has taken notice and decided to keep an eye on the word as a potential add to their official dictionary. (If you hadn’t heard of it, Words We’re Watching is Merriam-Webster’s place to discuss words that the group is “increasingly seeing in use” but have not yet met the criteria for inclusion in the dictionary; others on the list include “Ghosting” and the “Streisand Effect.”)

Now, don’t get us wrong. We adore dogs, but at this point, just reading the word “doggo” is making us all cringe a bit. Why? Because as editors, we like words. It’s almost as if this cutesy term fires up a little army of grammar troops, who — like us — have trouble recognizing the phrase as a real word at all. And since we do really, truly love dogs (including this writer’s proud, sweet, 17-year-old beagle hound), we also can’t help but scoff at how underwhelming “doggo” sounds. Aren’t there better, more dignified words out there to describe man’s best friend?

Merriam-Webster on the Term Doggo

To be clear, Merriam-Webster has noted that the term “doggo” already appears in its dictionary — but with an entirely different meaning. They claim that the term “has its origins not with good puppers, but with late 19th-century slang,” noting that the phrase was often referred to as “lie doggo.”

“To lie doggo was to stay hidden or to keep secret: to fly under the radar,” the dictionary states. “The phrase was popularized by Rudyard Kipling, who used it in several of his stories, leading people to believe that it was actually Anglo-Indian in origin.” But while the term is already listed on its website, Merriam-Webster has confirmed that this new definition would “actually refer to dogs themselves.” Eek!

Despite our rage, several Twitter users seemed to be pleased with “doggo” making its way into the dictionary. The tweet itself received 16,113 “likes” and 4,700 re-tweets, and a variety of replies displaying photos of users’ very own “doggo.”

“Charley is the best doggo!” Twitter user @thejanegang replied.

And disregarding all of the rules of type, Twitter user @maybejosie_ also responded with a photo of her “v good doggo.”

Even cat lovers had a say, responding to the tweet with photos of their— yes, you guessed it — “kitters.” To which Merriam-Webster responded, “We’ll allow it.” What is happening to the world?

If you need us, we’ll just be over here cuddling with our, ahem, dogs and feeling thankful that “doggo” has yet to meet the dictionary’s criteria for entry. Fingers crossed things stay that way!

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