Richard Dawkins recently informed twitter that the OED has registered Glen Greenwald's last name as a transitive verb and assigned the following definition to it1:

To misrepresent a more intelligent person's superior argument, typically on social media in the form of poorly written material under the guise of journalism.

My question is this: from what writing or writings of Greenwald's did his surname inherit this unfortunate registry into our lexicon?

Also, can someone provide an excerpt or a sample or article of someone greenwalding a more intelligent argument?

My problem is the umbrella term of misrepresent which, or course, includes the semantics of malice and intention in this case, but I think could include the dangers of paraphrasing or simplification. Either way, I would like an excerpt or full length article of someone doing this.

Also, dear readers, I would very much appreciate your feedback.


  • 1
    Dawkins has indeed tweeted the incoherent text 'The verb "to greenwald" is gaining currency OED requires that it's used while no longer needing explicit definition.' with what appears to be a definition and citation. The online OED contains no such definition, and a google search for "oed greenwald" turns up nothing but Dawkins' tweet. The Urban Dictionary has an entry for "greenwalding", with a very different slant from Dawkins. – Colin Fine Dec 30 '15 at 10:47
  • 3
    @ColinFine I'm in agreement with all the points you make. I would, however, propose dawkinsism to mean a supercilious and proselytising atheism, which embodies as many uncertainties as religion. That one is "gaining currency" with me. – WS2 Dec 30 '15 at 11:02
  • 2
    A friend has explained Dawkins' tweet to me: he's not saying it is in the OED, but (I think) that it hasn't met their spec. That is not how I read it at first, though I see it now. – Colin Fine Dec 30 '15 at 11:09
  • @WS2 I usually slam any proposal of a DIY not-yet-and-may-never-be word on ELU. So, all I can say here is: Have a happy New Year. And be careful to avoid libel suits. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 30 '15 at 12:35
  • 1
    This question shouldn't be out on hold. Language always adds new words. "Greenwald" may very well become a word as "gerrymander" did a few decades ago. As experts and inquirers of the English language, we should be open to discuss and analyze possible up and coming words. If anything, my question asks for elaboration and its etymology. For shame on you for putting it on hold. – Danny Rodriguez Dec 31 '15 at 10:35

The incident that started the Dawkins / Greenwald beef on Twitter was when Greenwald tweeted an article that insinuated bigotry on Dawkins' part for agreeing to debate cardinals, rabbis, etc, but refused to be interviewed by a Muslim journalist. (It had nothing to do with bigotry on his part.)


Also notably, Glenn Greenwald has been engaged in a campaign of character assassination against Sam Harris over the past couple of years. He has endorsed and retweeted quotes and articles that call Sam Harris an "Islamophobe", a "racist", a "warmonger", and a "genocidal, fascist maniac", although he seemingly knows these are misrepresentations of Sam's actual views.


Glenn also employs writers at his publication 'The Intercept' who engage in morally questionable behavior; most notably in recent history, Murtaza Hussain, who called Maajid Nawaz a "porch monkey", "talking monkey" and a "native informant". (Nawaaz is a former radical Islamist, now liberal and secular Muslim, who co-authored a book with Sam Harris titled "Islam and the Future of Tolerance".)

  • EL&U is designed to help users with word choice, usage, grammar, etymology, etc. The word in question is not a word in the English language, so your discussion does not belong in EL&U. – Kyle Dec 31 '15 at 9:13
  • 2
    Kyle, language always adds new words. "Greenwald" may very well become a word as "gerrymander" did a few decades ago. As experts and inquirers of the English language, we should be open to discuss and analyze possible up and coming words. – Danny Rodriguez Dec 31 '15 at 10:34
  • It's a falsified post on social media, nowhere near an "up and coming word." – Kyle Dec 31 '15 at 17:50
  • Once you start paying attention, defamation and frivolous accusations of bigotry, misogyny and racism is pretty common, especially on social media. Greenwalding, that is, when done by "journalists" is a particular form of defamation. Greenwald as needs to pay a social price for his calumnious articles and tweets. The word "Greenwalding" exacts such a price from Greenwald. – Ceki Dec 1 '16 at 10:57

Here is the tweet in question:

@RichardDawkins Tweet

"Greenwald" is not actually a word. Dawkins (a strident, bull-headed, and sarcastic writer) tried to insult Greenwald (another strident, bull-headed, and sarcastic writer).

Dawkin's screenshot of a dictionary definition has been entirely falsified.

  • Your ' "[g]reenwald" is not actually a word' is bold here. +1. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 30 '15 at 12:32
  • Well I feel like an imbecile. – Danny Rodriguez Dec 30 '15 at 18:30
  • -1 for ad hominem against Dawkins and Greenwald - despite my negative opinion of Greenwald. – Ruut Dec 31 '15 at 7:24
  • 2
    +1 for ad hominem against Dawkins. He deserves it, imho. On the other hand, I have no idea who Greenwald is, nor am I interested in finding out. – Cyberherbalist Dec 31 '15 at 8:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.