December 26, 2018

Urban Dictionary has made "marginal" its front-paged word of the day, but none of the definitions have anything to do with Trump's saying that at age 7, belief in Santa is "marginal."

The top-rated definition is "Word describing a friend that is a taker and not a giver - someone that never shows up or pays for a tab or helps in any way. Not a true friend."

That's the only marginally accepted Urban Dictionary definition. There are 2 other definitions, but they are massively down-voted: 1. "Another word for an insecure, psychotic, nerd who has problems distinuishing real life from the internet," and 2. "A synonym for a woman's genitalia." The second definition is especially bad because it defines the word as a noun and then, to make it worse, uses it in a sentence as a verb — as if you could "marginal" someone. It should at least be "marginalize."

ADDED: Obviously, Urban Dictionary is trying to prompt people to get in there and make some Trump jokes. I don't know if you participate in writing Urban Dictionary definitions, but feel free to write your "marginal" definition in the comments here.

52 comments:

tcrosse said...

Any further definitions are of low Marginal Utility.

rhhardin said...

Pedal is a verb. Approval is a noun.

Bob Boyd said...

In this age, belief that women will let you grab them by the margins is marginal.

EDH said...

Marginal Revolution may refer to the development of economic theory in the late 19th century which explained economic behavior in terms of marginal utility and related concepts.

Marginal Revolution is the blog of Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, both of whom teach at George Mason University.

At what ages do children stop believing in Santa Claus?
by Tyler Cowen December 26, 2018

Research in the Journal of Cognition and Development in 2011 shows that 83% of 5-year-olds think that Santa Claus is real, the study’s lead author, Jacqueline Woolley, wrote in The Conversation last year.

“We have found in more recent studies that that number of 85% sounds about right,” said Thalia Goldstein, assistant professor of applied developmental psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

“Children’s belief in Santa starts when they’re between 3 and 4 years old. It’s very strong when they’re between about 4 and 8,” she said. “Then, at 8 years old is when we start to see the drop-off in belief, when children start to understand the reality of Santa Claus.”

What about across the pond? They seem to be asleep over there:

Of 161 parents in the United Kingdom, 92.5% thought Father Christmas was real for their children up to the age of 8, according to a research paper presented at the annual meeting of the European Early Childhood Education Research Association in Finland in 1999.

And here is a study vulnerable to the replication crisis:

The interviews revealed that 39.2% of the children believed that the man they visited was the same Santa who came down their chimneys…1.3% had a somewhat “adult belief,” Goldstein said, in which they said that the man was not Santa and did not live at the North Pole but could communicate with the real Santa.

That is a CNN article from last year. Why is the word “marginal” declining in popularity? How many seven year olds know what “marginal” means? How many know not to believe everything the President says? How many understand hedging?

Dave Begley said...

The Urban Dictionary is quite marginal.

Further Trump bashing has no marginal value.

rhhardin said...

I have several volumes of Coleridge's Marginalia.

robother said...

I think they may be confusing "marginal" with "fringe" (as in fringed delights).

Bob Boyd said...

The idea that any given seven year old might well be suffering a crisis of faith at Christmas time is pretty ordinary.

What's surprising is how many adults believe Nancy Pelosi is Santa Clause.

tcrosse said...

Marginal: characteristic of Bart Simpson's Mom.

rhhardin said...

Coleridge's Marginalia went from remainder price to full price in successive volumes so I stopped buying them. An economist can explain it.

rcocean said...

Who's behind the "Urban Dictionary"? Why should I believe they know what they're talking about? Did them we elect them to something?

Get Skeptical people!

rcocean said...

Marginal = borderline.

believing santa in 2nd Grade is borderline XXX.

Trump as usual doesn't spell it out.

traditionalguy said...

Fred Drumph raised Donald in reality-land.

Laslo Spatula said...

Marginal: not Butteral.

I am Laslo.

James K said...

Fermat's proof of his last theorem was marginal.

tcrosse said...

Marginal: relating to the marge of Lake Lebarge where I cremated Sam McGee.

Static Ping said...

I think every word in the Urban Dictionary refers to genitalia in some way. If there is some word within that is not a sexual reference in some way, they haven't been doing their job. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but in Urban Dictionary everything is a dick.

Carter Wood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
narciso said...

Yes the urban dictionary is a den of scum and villainy.

Char Char Binks said...

A dictionary written by illiterates.

Carter Wood said...

Marginal: A person who by Wisconsin state law is required to add yellow coloring to his or her hair coloring.

D 2 said...

Marginals = commentators that riff off a main piece of prose as written by more confident opinionists.
Blog commentators may be considered marginals, except for Lazlo of course. Most of the media, for certain.

Perhaps akin to, or cousins to, Teddy R's soft critics who sit in the stands of the arena and pass judgement on those in the ring. They scuttle to hide in the dark of the curtains in the corner of the drawing room and squawk with other Rodentry. They use words like scuttle.

The Poloniouses / Iagos / the big guy from Cool Hand Luke of the world. Marginals and Deplorables may overlap on the Venn diagram, but my non sciencey guess is more often that they do not. Deplorables likely know of their deplorability more so than marginals know their marginality.

narciso said...

Hitler literally got better press

https://www.camera.org/article/hitler-sometimes-takes-a-nap-and-other-new-york-times-insights/

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The Marginal Way is a walking path along the Atlantic Ocean in Ogunquit, Maine.

MadisonMan said...

Last Tango in Paris as a good movie is marginal.

n.n said...

The twilight fringe or "penumbra" is a marginal Amendment redefined by urban semantics.

Fernandistein said...

1 - Almost like butter.
2 - Using the "Urban Dictionary" except as a joke.

wild chicken said...

Urban Dictionary is good for street slang, sex and drug terms. You gotta pick through it though, lot of it is BS.

James K said...

The Marginal Way is a walking path along the Atlantic Ocean in Ogunquit, Maine.

Was just about to post that. We used to go to Ogunquit when I was a kid. We have old 8mm movies of us walking along the Marginal Way. Beautiful beach and coastline.

Matthew Sablan said...

Marginal: The effort made by Congress to solve most problems facing America.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Marginal: not Butteral."

-- I can't believe it's not Butteral!

Howard said...

Sergio Aragones was a marginal artist in Mad Magazine

Mary Beth said...

Marginal belief - one that could go either way depending on whether you got that present that every kid wanted but almost no one got because it's been sold out in stores for months (most years, this is something by Nintendo.)

stlcdr said...

Why would urban dictionary even need an entry for marginal?

The fact that they are doing this demonstrates that they are basically a ‘joke’ site. Previously, many years ago, it was a place to determine slang meaning and usage. Maybe it was never a serious site, but actual usefulness leaked into it?

[Ah. Just looked up the ‘wikipedia’ entry on ‘Urban Dictionary’. Sounds like it was never a serious site...and...Wikipedia...yet another one of those sites. Maybe there should be a Wikipedia entry on Urban Dictionary...]

Rabel said...

Marginal - A resident of the fictional city of Marginalia.

My name goes here. said...

Marginal - see CNN

Big Mike said...

Marginal: Yet another way to say “Orange Man Bad”

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim maguire said...

Sorry. "Marginal" is not nearly marginal enough of a word to merit an Urban Dictionary definition. The real dictionary is dictionary enough for "marginal."

AJ Lynch said...

Marginalia was the name of Althouse's first blog?

jr565 said...

We don’t actually know hat trumps statement was even in reference to Santa clause. He asked if the kids still believed in Santa clause then paused to allow the kid that say something. What that was we have no idea. So his response to that statement makes little sense absence that context.

Darrell said...

Joe Biden was asking the little girls what they were wearing. How come we don't hear about that?

tim in vermont said...

Marginal: Of little import and even less use. For example, the Urban Dictionary is a marginal source of information.

Laslo Spatula said...

A marginal defense: the Maginot Line.

I am Laslo.

BudBrown said...

Could have something to do with taking a leak early New Years morning.

Ann Althouse said...

"Marginalia was the name of Althouse's first blog?"

Marginalia was the original name of this blog. I noticed on the second day that there was another blog with that name so I felt I had to change it. Without a whole hell of a lot of thought, I named it after me.

Earnest Prole said...

I won’t touch the low-hanging fruit of Althouse’s last comment.

rhhardin said...

I make marginal notes on flyleafs, not margins. Add a note with a page number. It's an aid in finding stuff again. Most books have several pages of blank space available.

No yellow magic marker.

rhhardin said...

I don't see any way that marginal can mean female genitalia. Edges would be the nearest in, border between inside woman and outside; or maybe in the other direction for labia. But it's so poetically weak that I can't see it getting started.

Darrell said...

I don't see any way that marginal can mean female genitalia.

Anal with a girl named Marge. Or a "Marge type," like a Stacy. User-created dictionaries always seek their lowest level. Now your mind probably gets stuck with the detail that "anal" is not "inal." But that's why people say you're a weirdo. Or "anal."

Tom Grey said...

Small steps towards a much better world:
https://marginalrevolution.com/

(Like EDH said early)

By the way, house values in any area are hugely dependent on the prices of the last 5 houses sold. That's a form of marginal value determination.

H said...

"Marginal": How people who are really stupid and evil mis-spell "vaginal".