An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.
“Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And it this case, they got it completely wrong,” Walt Riker, a Mickey D’s McSpokesman complained to the Associated Press. “It’s a complete disservice and incredibly demeaning to a terrific work force and a company that’s been a jobs and opportunity machine for 50 years.”
The company says it will kick off its campaign in May in an attempt to change the “out-of-date” definition, as McDonald’s spokeswoman Amanda Pierce called the McJob entry.
This, of course, suggests that Mr Riker and Ms Pierce are worryingly unfamiliar with the nature and purpose of a dictionary. Dictionaries are, indeed, supposed to be paragons of accuracy, in that they accurately describe the meaning of words, in the sense of how they are used; ‘McJob’, whether McDonalds likes it or not, means exactly what the OED says it does. As Cory Doctorow puts it in Boing Boing,
Let’s be clear: the job of a dictionary is to record language as it is spoken, and people clearly say “McJob” to mean a crummy job.
I’m delighted to see, though, that the OED is having none of Ronald McDonald’s nonsense; they sent a statement to Der Spiegel saying,
We can confirm that we monitor changes in the language and reflect these in our definitions, according to the evidence we find.
Der Spiegel also gleefully points out that the OED’s disparagement of the Golden Arches doesn’t stop there. It has an entire entry for the prefix Mc used in this sense:
’. Cf. also MCJOB n.
1982 N.Y. Times (Nexis) 17 Oct. I. 63 Some dismiss the newspaper [sc. USA Today], with its flood of short articles, as journalistic junk food, or ‘McPaper’. 1985 Washington Post 13 Apr. 12 ‘Surgicenters’ and ‘quick care centers’ that have sprung up in business districts and shopping centers. There are 2,500 such miniclinicssometimes dubbed ‘McDoctors’today. 1994 Guardian 5 Aug. II. 7/5 When you want a real policeman..a McPoliceman just won’t fill the gap. McPolicemen without full powers..are the latest in a long line of McPolicies with which we are already swamped. 1995 Weekend Austral. 24-5 June (Review Suppl.) 3/4 Anne..is a Hollywood studio executive whose boyfriend has tried to get her to read Men Are From Mars: ‘I call it McTherapy… It’s quick and easy and for the masses.’ 2000 N.Y. Times 4 May B1/5 Why best-selling authors become producers of McThrillers.