I’m sorry, I can’t allow you to learn that

Have you ever heard the word “fromage?” I believe I had heard it before yesterday, but I wasn’t paying enough attention to remember what it meant. So when I read it, I thought, “Hey, I know of an online dictionary, I’ll just go look it up.” Take a gander at the definition for "fromage" over at Dictionary.com. Fascinating, no? It turns out the generous wordsmiths over there have decided that there are certain words that common folk like us really shouldn’t have free access to, and unless we fork over $3 each month, they’re going to do what they can to keep that word out of our pitiful little lexicon. The really interesting question, it seems to me, is how exactly did they choose which words were worth charging for?

Beyond that, I can only imagine what happens when you let your subscription run out. Perhaps they send out a team of knowledge-sucking specialists to surgically remove those words from your vocabulary? Or if surgery is too risky, I imagine all they have to do is sit you down and make you watch a few episodes of “Married with Children” or something. That oughta do it. “From-age? What was that? Maybe the quality of bein’ from somethin’?”

Maybe while they’re in there they can help you to forget that you subscribed in the first place, just to boost re-subscription rates. Their sales must be skyrocketing!

It’s a kind of French cheese, by the way. Just trying to help.

8 thoughts on “I’m sorry, I can’t allow you to learn that

  1. It’s been said, but I have to repeat it. Fromage is the French word for CHEESE, it’s not A French cheese. I just like pointing out my knowledge.

    The money charging thing is silly, but a company’s got to survive somehow.

  2. It’s odd, because I’m pretty sure I’ve read otherwise somewhere else. Has the Internet misinformed me?!? How could it be so? 🙂

    Oh well. It’s a detail.

    Although that might explain how dictionary.com decides which words to charge for. Maybe they only charge for words that originate in another language, and haven’t become mainstream English.

  3. As I point out to my students constantly, the internet is not a reliable source of information. There is much more trash than good.

    Of course, the good stuff is worth it to the discerning reader.

    But, if nothing else, my 3 1/2 weeks in France taught me what ‘fromage’ meant, as I had nothing but fromage and bread for lunch most of the time I was there. Good combo- French bread kicks, since most of it is made fresh that morning. Nothing like a 3 foot long roll of French bread still warm. Mmmmm.

  4. Oi vey, semantics.

    You know… I’m not sure they were wrong. I think this is much like the definition of “a la mode.” In French, it means “in style,” but in English, it means “with some ice cream” even though it’s from the French language. So if you’re in France, fromage definitely just means cheese, but if you’re in America… I’m not sure all cheese is fromage. I don’t know that it would be correct to call Colby or Cheddar fromage. I’m guessing the term technically only applies to cheese that is originally from France. French cheese. So I’m not asking for the French word fromage, I’m asking for the English word “fromage.”

    And you could take this person’s word for it. Although I think that’s what would qualify as a “bad source.” 🙂

    In America, we have cheese. In France, there is fromage. The French (and the dictionaries) all say that fromage is French for cheese, but I know better. Fromage is not just cheese. Cheese is what we have in our refrigerator. Fromage is more…

    That’s the last I’ll say on the subject, because I can feel my blog getting more and more boring the more comments I make. Hehehe…

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