Oxford? Get a "McJob"!

I don’t know exactly what to make of this:

Business leaders want to flip ‘McJob’ definition

LONDON (AFP) – Business leaders gave their support on Thursday to a campaign by fast food giant McDonald’s to redefine the term “McJob” in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The leaders, including Sir Digby Jones, the former head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and David Frost, the director-general of the British Chamber of Commerce, wrote a letter published in the Financial Times business daily.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) describes a McJob as “an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.”

In the letter, the business leaders say that they believed “this definition is out of date, out of touch with reality and most importantly is insulting to those hard-working, talented and committed people who serve the public every day in the UK.”

They said that the entry for “McJob” should be “changed to reflect a job that is stimulating, rewarding and offers genuine opportunities for career progression and skills that last a lifetime.”

Their letter coincided with a public relations push by the company to get the OED to change the definition — it is launching Thursday a public petition in restaurants and the Internet.

Aside from the controversy at hand, I just can’t imagine how this phrase, which doesn’t even seem to be overly used, even made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary! A slang dictionary, perhaps, but the Oxford English Dictionary? That’s insane! “McJob” is a catchphrase, not a real word. You don’t see too many catchphrases in the Oxford English Dictionary.

I’m not at all against new words being added to the dictionary; by all means, all sorts of “modern” terminology (“cellular phone,” “bi polar,” “Internet,” even “weblog” — all bad examples, so pardon that) should be added just as new words have been added over many, many years. I just don’t think a slangy-catchphrase deserves a place just yet, if ever.

Am I the only one who sees this as an example of further decline of the English language and our society?(Okay, so I’m being a mite dramatic, but still… you understand what I mean, right?)

EDIT: I’ve added more commentary in the comments section below!

More reading: McDonald’s Has Beef with the Oxford English Dictionary

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I'm a wife and mommy first, as well as a social media consultant/manager, editor, and writer. I'm also editor of Musical Reviewer and Houston Theatre Blog.

Posted in Big Questions, Grammar Check!, Peeves
3 comments on “Oxford? Get a "McJob"!
  1. Crazy Mom says:

    I can’t believe this, but for once, I disagree with you. “Cell phone” and “blog” started out as catchphrases as well, and at some point someone had to accept them as modern language. The OED “documents the continuing development of our society,” and not just the American society. Cultural references from England, South America, Australia, etc., are taken into consideration. Maybe that phrase has been ultra-popular in other countries for years – because after all, they have McDonald’s restaurants everywhere! This helped me understand: http://www.oed.com/about/history.html.

    I hope life is going well, and that hubby is feeling better! 🙂

  2. Julia says:

    You know, you’re right about the catchphrases being popular in other cultures; I know a lot of the controversy of this article is taking place in the UK, so it seems that “McJob” is a popular term there. I guess I didn’t stress my understanding of that in my rant. 🙂

    You caught me! The particular word examples I used weren’t exactly the strongest. I couldn’t think of others off the top of my head. I still personally feel that the term “weblog” has more appeal in the dictionary (not “blog”), as it is a thing, like any other type of log (i.e. travel log, etc.). “McJob” just doesn’t really seem like a “thing” to me, as much as a “weblog” does.

    It was my mistake to use the informal, slangier versions of “weblog” and “cellular phone” (both formal) versus “blog” and “cell phone” (both informal). I’ve corrected those. 🙂

    Thanks for helping me correct errors in the “passion of the moment”!

  3. Lori says:

    That’s just mc-messed up.

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