Merriam-Webster Contemplates Adding "Metal" to Dictionary as Adjective | Revolver

Merriam-Webster Contemplates Adding "Metal" to Dictionary as Adjective

Due to descriptor's increased use in "communicating toughness, intensity, and general, er, badassery"
metal fan getty, Michel Linssen/Redferns
photograph by Michel Linssen/Redferns

Today, January 19th, 2018, will henceforth be remembered as a historic day in heavy-metaldom: Merriam-Webster, the gatekeepers of the English language (at least for the past century-and-a-half) have announced that they're considering adding "metal" as an adjective to the dictionary.

"Metal has been a noun in good standing since the 13th century, and has been used attributively for most of that time, but as these examples show, these days it's acting like a full-on adjective," the linguistic bigwigs write in their latest "Words We're Watching" blog post, going on to cite the word's associated genre as the main catalyst for its rise. Later on in the article, they note that "the upstart metal descriptor evokes the powerful energy and dark themes of heavy metal music, communicating toughness, intensity, and general, er, badassery."

By Merriam-Webster's current estimations, the use of "metal" as a descriptive adjective dates back to the turn of the Twenty-First century. The earliest example they've found ("It's so metal it clangs when you drop it on your CD tray") comes from an article originally published in The Denver Post on August 20th, 1998, by journalist Mark Harden. Its subject? The Anthrax album Volume 8: The Threat is Real.

Head here to read the fascinating – and very metal – announcement in its entirety.