Dear Mr. James Murray,
As the original editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, it is to you I write in regards to your request for volunteers in your pursuit to create a comprehensive English dictionary. Though my response letter is approximately 157 years late, I speculate my word entry BRIDE is on time with your progress, being that it took the committee five years to reach the word ANT.
Allow me to begin. Your current definition and etymology of the word stand as:
- Old English bryd “bride, betrothed or newly married woman.” Gothic cognate brups, however, meant daughter-in-law.” On the same noting, some trace the word itself to the PIE verbal root *bru-“to cook, brew, make broth,” as this likely was the daughter-in-law’s job.
While this definition demonstrates a straightforward grasp of the word, I believe it lacks in depth of cultural implications. Words, as you most certainly know, evolve in meaning over time due to social and linguistic trends. I find your current etymology woefully outdated in relation to the word’s present social and linguistic use, though to cook, brew, and make broth are still present day. I took the liberty of updating three new definitions.
- American English bride-n1—“ commercialized identity for a woman planning a wedding”
- American English bride-n2—“a woman obsessed with bouquets, registries, and meticulously organized Pinterest boards”
- American English bride-n3—“a woman to be treated by society as singularly focused on her wedding plans *see wedding dress, invitations, and seating chart* Woman not to be asked about anything not color scheme, table-arrangement, or seating chart related”
- Synonyms: bridezilla
Most likely you are shocked at the limited lens through which women in the twenty-first century are viewed. I have no doubt that, as an educated man yourself, you envisioned the future of Western culture as well as the English language to broaden the roles set for women rather than narrow aforementioned roles. You hoped, and here I postulate, that your female descendants would live in a world of equality, a world in which society valued women for their ideas rather than their table settings.
I hope you find these entry updates linguistically accurate and culturally abhorrent.
I hope to send you my next entry shortly; I will enclose a preliminary definition.
- American English groom-n1—“man not to be asked about wedding plans”
- American English groom-n2—“man to whom gifts of axes and specialty scotch should be given”
- American English groom-n3—“man to be winked at the mention of the wedding night”
Rebekah (’12) teaches English as a second language at Grand Rapids Community College. She does not drink coffee nor purchase Apple products.