Woman changes the dictionary with a single tweet

Every year, dictionaries add words to its lexicon, proving that language is ever-changing. One woman proved that sometimes, dictionaries have antiquated definitions that need to be changed as well.

Writer Ali Segel noticed an outdated example of the word "femininity" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. She shared her criticism on Twitter:

The example read: "She managed to become a CEO without sacrificing her femininity."

She spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about how she came across the offensive example. "I decided to make a zine of artwork and written word inspired by strong, powerful women and asked my followers to send in their submissions." she said.

RELATED: See prominent female CEOs

Notable Women CEO's
See Gallery
Notable Women CEO's

Carol Meyrowitz

TJX Companies 

(Photo by Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Ursula M. Burns


(Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Beth Mooney, chief executive officer of KeyCorp, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. KeyCorp, which has 1,059 branches, is targeting $150 million to $200 million of expense reductions by December 2013, the Cleveland-based lender said in a statement. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lynn Good, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy Corp., listens during an interview in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. Duke is moving to a lower carbon future regardless of who is in the White House, Good said. Photographer: Cassi Alexandra/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Debra Cafaro, chairman, chief executive officer of Ventas Inc., speaks during an interview in Chicago, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. Ventas, the second-biggest U.S. health-care real estate investment trust by market value, agreed to buy Nationwide Health Properties Inc. for about $5.7 billion. Cafaro will lead the combined company. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Gracia Martore, President and CEO, Gannett Co. Inc., speaks at the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

"One woman sent in some poetry along with a screenshot of the definition of femininity being like, 'P.S., isn't it insane that this is in the dictionary?!'"

Segel decided to tweet about her disdain. It was quickly noticed -- so much so that the official Merriam-Webster account replied:

They followed up with Segel, saying the example has been removed:

"Someone ended up contacting Peter Sokolowski, who is the Lexicographer at Merriam-Webster," Segel told Cosmopolitan.com. "As soon as he caught wind of it they promptly addressed the situation and removed the sentence. I thought the way they handled it was really great."

While Segel was glad that Merriam-Webster removed the distasteful example, she just it's just one instance of sexism. "I was surprised at how sexism infiltrates every single aspect of our culture and so frequently goes unnoticed," she said.

She said that people have to work to change perception of women overall, not just one definition -- and that women themselves don't have to change. "We need to reframe the way we think and talk about women," she said.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.