Language

The Politics of Dictionaries

When the storm over misogyny—a word many Australians had never heard of, and fewer had used—broke over her head, Susan Butler, editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, must have felt like Samuel Johnson, as recorded in the preface to his famous dictionary: It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward.…

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