Merriam-Webster Adds ‘Sheeple’ To Dictionary Citing Apple Fans As Prime Examples

Wake up sheeple! Merriam-Webster recently added “sheeple” to its online dictionary, and a quote regarding Apple fans was used a prime example of the word.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word is naturally a blend of “sheep” and “people”. “Sheeple” are defined as “ people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced: people likened to sheep”. Sheeple was first used in 1945, but has gained popularity over the last few years on websites like reddit, 4Chan, and Tumblr.

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Merriam-Webster provides two examples of sheeple. The example from CNN’s Digital Trending News Writer Doug Criss stated, “Apple's debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for.” The reactions in the comments section to this quote are mixed. While some found the Apple example to be relevant and hilarious, others felt its inclusion to be disrespectful.

Apple fans have a reputation for being quite passionate about the company and its products. In 2015, fans waited for days outside of Apple stores in order to purchase the iPhone 6s. Apple noted that it sold a record-breaking 13 million models during the iPhone 6s launch weekend. The company still retains quite a cult following despite sluggish iPhone 7 sales and controversial court cases. Apple plans to release the iPhone 8 this coming September, however, there have been reports of component shortages.

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Merriam-Webster is well known for adding new and trendy words to its dictionary each year. In 2014 the dictionary added “selfie”, “hashtag”, and “crowdfunding” and revamped its definition of “catfish”. Representatives from Merriam-Webster noted at the time that the “new additions to America's best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person”. The Internet is hardly Shakespeare, however, it does seem to be contributing its fair share of words to the English language.