We regularly peruse the Corpus of Contemporary American English as a source of inspiration and post creative evaluation. The COCA tracks word usage across virtually every available capturable source for frequency, context, meaning, trends, sources and more. It is a truly fascinating tool for us wordsters. The word “entitled” caught our eye recently as its usage on social media, especially those outlets where neighbors call out other neighbors for arrogance behind the wheel, has increased. Entitled, in this usage, means believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment, so it is mildly interesting to ponder the motivation for using this label.
Question One: does the mere act of not letting someone merge mean you are entitled?
Ponderings: Like all things it depends on context. If the labelee is in an expensive car, the epithet is understandable. But what if you, as the entitled one, overcame circumstances and bad luck, worked hard, gave back to your community, are social conscious and genuinely earned this nice car that gives you some degree of pleasure? And you were late for your meeting with the Committee to Save the Baby Whales? Are you entitled then?
Question Two: Is labeling someone entitled any different than other labels? And if so, is there a difference in degree? Or is it a false equivalency?
Ponderings: labeling someone entitled in this context is, by a strict definition, prejudicial. The labeler is making a judgement prior to having all the facts or understanding of this individual’s circumstances. The labelee, by dint of the car looks entitled, and by his/her behavior, acts entitled. Yet still the labeler does not know anything more than these two data points and so, it can be argued, they are making judgements (pre-judging) based on a swift and superficial assessment.
Anymore comments are above our pay grade, but we thought it worth starting a conversation. But, for now, anyway, perhaps it is the meanest politically correct epithet one can still use.