Does anyone here know Merriam or Webster?

So I (along with everyone else in my timeline) have recently become obsessed with Wordle, a tiny once-a-day word game where you try to guess the word-of-the-day in 6 guesses. (Click here for details.) And I am a very big fan in spite of the fact that Wordle keeps insisting that my words don’t exist.

Today it told me that “foxen” is not a real world in spite of the fact that it totally is because I included it in my book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened 10 years ago.

“One ox. Two Oxen. One fox. Two foxen. ~ me”

Agree to disagree, Wordle.

But I am a patient person so I took a deep breath after screaming a little bit and tried again:

WTF, Wordle.

And look, I guess maybe my book is a bit underground for some, but there is no way that people who lived through the 80s are not aware that a CHUD is a cannibalistic humanoid underground dweller that lives in the sewer and eats homeless people. One chud. Two chuds. This is all basic science.

So I looked up how to actually get a word recognized by the dictionary and turns out that it has to be in common usage by a lot of people so I’m going to need you to start slipping this shit into your casual conversations enough that it starts to catch on. People might think we’re weird but these are two very good words and increasing awareness of CHUDs is always good, so people might think you’re insane at first but just keep in mind that we have an important agenda here and so when they say you’re crazy you can say, “Yeah. Crazy like a bunch of foxen” and then everyone wins.

Except the CHUDs. Those fuckers depend on your silence.

76 thoughts on “Does anyone here know Merriam or Webster?

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I believe that you know Neil Gaiman. I’m fairly certain that you have access to more resources than your average human.

  2. Challenge accepted. And I teach kindergarten so they will believe those are words on my say so. I got distracted from report card writing by this. 😁

  3. Well Chud took me right back to high school and I had a sudden craving for Bartles and James and some screaming yellow zonkers. Thank you for reviving good memories

  4. I speak both Merriam and Webster, being a librarian. I think this is more Wordle’s problem than the dictionary folks, because if you follow the Merriam Webster Twitter feed, those bitches are fierce. Tweet this at them. I think Wordle may be working from some old curled up salad shrimp edition of the dictionary they pinched from their gramma’s house, but if not, English is a living language and they really are responsive to DMs. . Also, check the Ngram on the word foxen! You created a word bump! And you get lost in Ngrams. https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=foxen&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cfoxen%3B%2Cc0

  5. Go listen to Brian Regan. The comic. He came up with oxen and boxen. And mooses and meesees. So yes foxen is a word.

  6. And here I was thinking that CHUD was a South Asian word for underwear.
    Also, the plural of HOUSE is HICE, and the plural of SPOUSE is obviously SPICE. Which sounds like a lot more fun,

  7. I think if you make a wikepedia entry you can make anything “true”. And you don’t have to be a chud to know that wikepedia is not a word.

  8. Unsurprisingly, I already use those words in daily conversations.

    My husband and I built a blanket fort and watched CHUD for our Valentines date about 10 years ago and then played Dr. Mario for hours…it was super romantic and may be one of my favorite Valentines Days.

    Have you seen the family that is trying to get orbisculate into the dictionary. Orbisculate: to accidentally squirt juice and/or pulp” from foods, such as a grapefruit, into one’s eye, or onto someone’s body, clothing or elsewhere.

  9. As long as you start calling the little pubes that escape from underwear “panty spiders.” I’ve been trying to make that one popular for decades.

  10. Oooooh I had not heard of this before today. It basically sounds like Mastermind but with words and on your phone. I’m totally in. Also what does the foxen say? ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding. It totally makes sense. I got your back.

  11. I’ve been trying to get “quender” into the world since 1991 – a question to ponder. I just googled to see if anyone’s caught on – found it in urban dictionary, but not used as I created. I’m devastated.

  12. Sounds like wordle has a lot of nerve considering it named itself after a nonsensical word.

  13. What?! How can they say CHUD isn’t a word? It’s a whole movie! So yes, Wordle..people!! CHUD is most definitely a word! You know what isn’t a real word?
    Wordle!
    Check and Mate, buddy!! Yeah, see how you like that!

    – Elizabeth

  14. According to a random article I read, the person who created Wordle wrote it for his partner, and curated the word list by taking all the five letter ones and having his partner eliminate the ones she’d never heard of to prevent really obscure ones from showing up. Which means there’s really only two people you need to convince 😉

  15. I solved Wordle in 5 tries the first time I played, and in the adrenaline rush that followed, made it part of my daily allotted word game time, along with Words With Friends 2, Wordscapes, Boggle With Friends, any Jumbles in the local papers, and the occasional filler game of anagrams, Bananagrams, Scrabble, Boggle, or if I need to change things up, a Crossword or something randomly chosen from a puzzle book.

    This is why I avoid casinos, lol. Reading this back, I’d almost say I need help … except word games are good, studies back me up on this, and I could absolutely stop any time I wanted to, honest! No intervention needed here.

  16. Back in the day — the early days of blogging, about a decade ago — a Wordle was one of those generated things that put the most used words from your blog posts for a given period into a word cloud in cutsey fonts of different sizes and orientations.

    I used to do this as a weekly feature on my site. lol

    Now it’s a crossword/sudoku thing that doesn’t recognize words we all know and use on the regular?

    I’m confuzeled. (Yes, that’s a word, dammit!)

    I think the commenter above who suggested looping Neil Gaiman into this quest is onto something, Jenny. Maybe get Wil Wheaton and The Shatner in on it, too? Or get it trending on Twitter and Insta?

    We’re your Tribe. We can do this! Well, we’ll need a little help from at least one of the aforementioned celebrities, but still.

  17. If it wasn’t for dealing with CHUDs we would be totally unprepared for when the zombies come!

  18. Ok what you need to do is join the fb group Marie Callender’s Sharon pie roasting group. They love learning new words and using them on a daily bases no cap! They be Yeeting words everywhere at people. Ps whatever you do don’t Google any words from that group because Google gunna think you a dirty kinky mf 😂😂😂

  19. I never heard of this until you clued me in. Just gave it a try. And I think I want to try again tomorrow. They got me. It took me 5 times but I figured out today’s wordle. Yay me! And Foxen is so a word!!!

  20. I discovered it yesterday and am now a Wordle Nerdle. #WordleNerdle *umm, I made this up. It’s totally not a thing (unless Merriam Webster or the CHUDs say so? Then yes)

  21. Speaking of chuds, next time try chubs. As in multiple 1 lb tubes of ground meat. Will they dismiss it as naughty word?

  22. While we’re at it, can we all agree to the correct pronunciation of “w?” (Duh, it’s wubble-you)

  23. My stepmother used to believe the dictionary was a famous example of women’s inventions. You know, Miriam Webster! LOL! Bless her heart, I think we’ve all had those moments 🙂

  24. Ha ha ha. YES! The words not recognized drive me nuts. And I am all for using dozen as much as I can.

  25. Fox=foxen
    Mouse =mice=meese (my own addition, as in a whole bunch of mice is a mess of meese.)
    CHUD=CHUDS
    Dust bunnies become dust rabbits if they get too big because you’ve ignored them for too long.
    Why not? Words are invented by people, language changes and words go out of fashion and new ones get added to our languages all the time.
    I applaud your attempts to enliven our language to be more interesting and fun.
    Don’t let the language police hold you down, they don’t want you to have any fun with language unless they say so.

  26. This made me think of my dear Grandma Mabel, who used made-up words in Scrabble (and passed them off as words she learned while doing ‘her crosswords’). She also cheated at cards, bless her heart. Foxen is one of my MOST favorite words!

  27. I just tried wordle now thanks to you. I love it! I guessed the right word in the 3rd try with only one green letter I think it might be too easy for me

  28. I’ve never played Wordle, though I’ve heard it mentioned a few times. I’ve been using the word ‘foxen’ regularly ever since I read your book, and I see others saying the same, so what’s the threshold? ‘Common usage by a lot of people’ just how many exactly?
    While I don’t play Wordle I do play multiple word-find type games on my phone and it always pisses me off when they don’t recognize a word. And not even fanciful words like ‘foxen’, but regular everyday words like ‘skis’ and ‘uses’.

  29. Game designer got a list of 20,000-plus 5-letter words from Miriam-Webster, and then had his girlfriend, for whom he was designing the game, to eliminate the ones she had never heard of. I don’t know who she is or I would forward your suggestions for addition to “common usage of five letter words.”

  30. No worries. I work at a nature center giving animal talks and I use the word foxen. Foxen will happen!

  31. @8 Beth S.; Those are all jokes that go back as far back as people first noticing that English has irregular plurals. Computer nerds in particular have been using “boxen” as a plural of box since probably the 1970s (and applying it to any words ending in x). “Meeces” for plural of mouse in pop culture dates at least to a Hannah Barbara Huckleberry Hound cartoon in the late 50s. (“I hates those meeces to pieces!”)

  32. Well, I know Jenny Lawson and I’m on her side here. All CHUDS beware the foxes are plenty

  33. I simply cannot allow myself to get sucked into this but I hear there is a spoof site called sweardle and it’s all profanity and I think I would be really good at that.

  34. I keep trying to use CHUD in Words with Friends, for the same reason as you.

  35. Could be fen and such I guess.
    Yes I use Merriam Webster especially for word games am in top 7/10 which leaves me somewhat frustrated thought I’d progressed in arcane wordage.

  36. In the world of (Old School format) Magic; The Gathering, there are different power cards called Mox. Of course, multiple cards are Moxen! I’ve heard this at several different tournaments, and it always makes me smile

  37. Ahh, but CHUD is an acronym, which means that they won’t let us have it anyway. Stupid word game dictionaries.

  38. Just discovered wordle yesterday. I like that it is making me feel less stupid (I spend most of my days conversing with a 3 and 5 year old. It can be painful).

    Also, slightly digressing, have you read The Professor and the Madman? It was a fun read (as opposed to the movie adaptation, which might be weird given who its lead actor is).

  39. I start every puzzle with the word adieu to slip in as many vowels as possible, to help immediately delete wrong letters and placement.

  40. I just played this for the first time and I feel like I should be wearing a dunce hat, all while weirdly shouting at Wordle to TELL ME WHAT THE WORD IS!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe I’m too passionate because I don’t do well with unresolved things…Just a smidge?

    I solved Friday’s puzzle (almost 3 am here in insomnia land 😂) like an embarrassingly proud golden retriever who learned how to fetch for the first time after countless tries. Hooray for me! 😂😂😂 Best of luck everyone!

  41. Nice coincidence. A good friend clued me in to Wordle a few days ago and it is the first thing I do when going on line every morning, at least for the last five days. I wish my mother was still alive because she would have LOVED this so much.

    PS – I had trouble with the “Not in WOrd List” thing yesterday several times. My word was better.

  42. I wonder, if there is a two birds one stone possibility here.
    A murder of crows
    A pride of lions
    A chud of foxen. “In rural Maine, north of Milo, just south of Quimby, an ambitious snowshoer may spy a Chud of Foxen, preparing to hibernate. What that snowshoer doesn’t know is the real wonder is in the late Spring. The once Chud has grown into many magical Chuds of foxen, moms and pups as numerous as the wild blueberry bushes about which they happily gambole”

  43. The thing is, Wordle uses a list of ~2300 words for the word of the day, plus a larger number of words that may be accepted as guesses, but will never be the target word. I was surprised it accepted AGLEY as a guess though.

  44. I tried to play “foxen” in a Scrabble game a few weeks ago. Foxen is NOT a word, Jenny, and now I remember where I “learned” this word.

  45. I think CHUD is like moose. One moose, three moose. One CHUD, “this place is full of CHUD.” But Wordle hates my vocabulary, too, so no worries.

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