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But EVOO isn't even a word!

The brand that is Rachael Ray strikes again, and this time I really must object. The next edition of the Oxford American College Dictionary will include EVOO as a word and they are crediting RR for the term.

Um, no and no.

First, EVOO isn't a word, it's an acronym and I am concerned that the people associated with Oxford (whom many of us think of as "the dictionary people") don't seem to know the difference.

Next, read this quote from Erin McKean, Editor-in-Chief of American Dictionaries

"In order for a word to get into the dictionary it has to be useful to people. It’s not just enough to be a fabulous celebrity to get your word in. You have to make a word that people like to use. There are words that are connected with celebrities that are not going to make it in the dictionary anytime soon; we’re not going to put in "Brangelina." "EVOO" we see people using. We have a big database of about a billion and a half English words. In that database we found evidence of "EVOO" being used and in more than half of the examples, "Rachael" is also in the same sentence."

I googled "EVOO" and got ~181k hits, while "EVOO -Ray" gets ~127k, which means that ,in the wild, she's only mentioned in a third of the pages with EVOO on them. (it must make it tough to read the page when it has EVOO on it). And Brangelina, a word that is as cringeworthy as EVOO, gets 1.6 million hits, more than ten times as many hits as EVOO, so the argument about people liking to use the word is clearly not true.

EVOO may be a useful acronym for some folks, but it isn't as practiced by RR. For it to be useful, it would have to be a shorter replacement for a longer term. Every time I have heard RR use the term, however, she has said "EVOO, extra-virgin olive oil" proving that it's not only not useful, it simply clutters up the sentence. (Maybe I am just hyper-aware of this because I'm at the author's review stage of a couple of books, which is when the copy editors send everything back with corrections. Corrections like "say 'extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)' once and then just say EVOO." Perhaps RR just needs a good editor. I've got several excellent ones to recommend.)

To sum up:

  • not a word
  • neither created or used most by the person getting the credit
  • not useful as implemented by the person they are crediting with the word
  • far less used than Brangelina which isn't in the dictionary because people don't "like to use it"

This would be easier to explain if the dictionary publisher was also RR's publisher, but unless it's part of an upcoming and as yet undisclosed deal they aren't. Which means I should probably file this under "America, dumbing down of via celebrity worship" and get back to writing that other thing. Which will be done any day now. In a computer minute.

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