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You might’ve used the word sheeple to describe a certain population of buyers who regularly indulge in the likes of the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. You might’ve been ridiculed for doing just that too.
But thankfully, Merriam-Webster now gives you license to call Apple fanboys “sheeple”.
‘Sheeple’ is in the dictionary now. https://t.co/pbXVADEoBm
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) April 27, 2017
The near two-century-old company added the term to its online dictionary this weekend, defined as “people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced” or “likened to sheep”. But it’s the example the company gives is what’s really setting tongues a-wagging.
Quoting CNN journalist Doug Criss, Merriam-Webster dedicates an example of sheeple to Apple users.
“Apple’s debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for,” he writes.
It’s safe to say that some on the page’s comments section aren’t too happy.
According to Merriam-Webster, Apple’s massive fanbase is the best example of ‘sheeple’
“You my idiot friend(s) are ignorant to allow such an example to be used when you are so shallowly versed in your knowledge of cellular technology,” one Best Buy “Apple Master” writes.
“This is disgusting, complete disrespect to people who use Apple’s technology to enrich their lives and the ones around them,” another lambastes.
Another called the use of Apple, or at least the use of a single company as an example, as “very derogatory”.
To be fair to Apple lovers, calling the definition “derogatory” does have its merits.
Browsing through other dictionaries, even the user-crafted Urban Dictonary, “Apple” isn’t once mentioned on the front page of definitions for sheeple.
Merriam-Webster does provide another definition that calls out people “obeying authority like livestock”, but that’s the only other definition.
Perhaps this is just a ploy by the company to increase traffic to the dictionary? Or perhaps it is the most apt definition available at present, appealing to a younger, tech-savvy audience?
Either way, it seems that Apple fans have adopted that reputation regardless.