Merriam-Webster has added the word “sheeple” to its online dictionary — and Apple Fans are used as an example of the word.
On April 27, Merriam-Webster tweeted about the addition — and added the caption “Wake up!” At first glance, the tweet doesn’t really include any potentially inflammatory remarks. Upon going to the definition itself, however, users will be greeted by two examples of the word used in a sentence. The first of the two is pretty bland — “James Nichols, who ran the family farm here, stamped dollar bills with red ink in protect against currency and told his neighbors that they were ‘sheeple’ for obeying authority like livestock.”
But the second example is much more interesting — it’s a 2015 quote by none other than CNN tech columnist Doug Criss. It reads: “Apple’s debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone — an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for,” the example reads, obviously critiquing the original version of Apple’s iPhone Smart Battery Case.
According to Merriam-Webster, the term “sheeple” dates back to 1945, and since, has been used mostly in a derogatory way. The online dictionary defines it specifically as “people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced.” Merriam-Webster’s Twitter account is no stranger to snarky, underhanded comments and general throwing-of-shade — obviously the work of a clever social media manager or management team.
On the other hand, it’s pretty amazing to see how far Apple’s reputation has come. Lest we forget that Apple used to market itself as the subversive and rebellious choice (as in the famous 1984 ad, or the Lemmings commercial it release a year later). To go from that to a market dominator is a pretty impressive feat — and it may be a bit unfair to call Apple’s dominance the sole result of “sheeple” lining up to buy their products.
But what do you think? Are Apple fans sheeple, or does Apple truly deserve its standing as a top dog in tech?
Let us know in the comments.
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