Everyone’s pulled that prank on somebody at least once in their lives. It’s one of the oldest lines in the book. Yet surprisingly, people have fallen for it time and time again; so much so that a wave of letters is sent to Oxford every year asking them why they removed the word and many demanding that it be put back. Feeling the build up of half a century’s worth of frustration, Oxford language professors finally cracked and it was unanimously decided on Monday, 26 October 2009 that the word would officially be removed. ‘We have decided that this shall be the final wave of harassing letters and emails,’ John Smith, head professor, says, ‘People will most likely complain for a few months but then it will die down and they will come to accept this change. Once that happens, the prank will be rendered useless and it will end the flood of annoying correspondence.’
There has been little public outcry surprisingly. ‘It’s about time. I fell for that joke twice and I’m sick of it,’ Jake, a street sweeper, commented. ‘I don’t care, I never use the word,’ Emily, a high school pupil remarked. Some scholars are actually even claiming that the word “gullible” should not ever have been in the dictionary anyway. ‘You see it was never an English word to begin with. It is actually an Elven word which originally just meant a person who was trusting, not in a blind sense but more in the sense of somebody who believes in the good in all beings. It started off as a complement,’ Judy Devon, a professor in Elven explained.
A law will soon be passed in Britain prohibiting the use of the word. ‘We just want to get people out of the habit of using the word is all. It’s a minimal fine but enough to make one think,’ Captain Soddy Potroast said at a police press conference.
South Africa and America however have refused to accept the change to the dictionary claiming American-English and South African-English are totally separate languages from traditional English. Although most people agree that this is an acceptable stance for both countries to take, there are many purists that are claiming that this attitude is negative and will have dire future consequences. ‘It’s already difficult to know what an American is on about these days. If South Africa and America continue this rubbish, eventually the original English language will grow so far apart from them, that they won’t be able to communicate with the world,’ John Smith warned.
It is unclear at this stage as to whether countries whose second language is English will comply with the new Oxford dictionary and remove the word or not. Some analysts believe that it’s likely that these countries will leave their dictionaries intact as it would be too costly to begin printing new ones.