It's one of those minor factoids that often gets glazed over, but today marks the anniversary of a pretty cool accomplishment for WWE. It was exactly five years ago today, on July 10, 2007, that the people at Merriam-Webster announced 20 new words that would officially be added to their English dictionary. Words that were added that day varied from trendy things like sudoku to advancing technologies like DVR. One of the words added was a word birthed nearly a decade before that day and has been a fixture in WWE for more than a dozen years now. The word was "smackdown".
Wrestling fans simply know it as the blue brand that is usually filmed on Tuesdays and often airs on Friday nights nowadays. Its humble beginnings, however, surfaced when The Rock was still coming into his own on the microphone. According to Webster's, the first official time that the word was used came in 1997. That means that it took just about a decade from conceiving such a word to making it an official word in the English language. You can legally play "smackdown" when playing Scrabble or Words With Friends.
Smackdown was entered into the dictionary smack-dab inbetween smacker and, ironically, smack-dab. The four official listings in the dictionary for "smackdown" read as follows inside Webster's Dictionary:
1. the act of knocking down or bringing down an opponent
2. a contest in entertainment wrestling
3. a decisive defeat
4. a confrontation between rivals or competitors
So, basically, here are the four actual ways to use the word "smackdown". It can be used to describe the actual smacking of someone in a downward position. Its second definition literally defines a reason for naming an entire show using that word. A one-sided affair can be deemed as a smackdown. The word also was defined with its fourth and final definition in a way that Jim Ross often described the term "slobberknocker".
This reveals the fact that "slobberknocker" could be another good word to have placed into a dictionary, or at least a thesaurus. Just by seeing that word's Urban Dictionary entry shows that a change of meaning is in order. I'll warn you now that it isn't the safest thing to see at the workplace.
WWE didn't exactly make any money off of this accomplishment, but it did show the strength of the company. It also spoke to The Rock and his strength as a figure in pop culture. Here was this word that was randomly conjured up and could have easily been brushed aside. WWE saw enough potential in the name that it became the name of a show for WWE and lent its name to a video game series before splitting video game naming duties with RAW.
The Rock was already a big movie star by the time this announcement became official, but it still showed the might that WWE has. They copyrighted a word prior to it being recognized as an actual word. Now, it is so widely accepted that the word is more socially acceptable to be used by the masses. Just having the pride of creating words that will outlast whatever it is you do is a nice feather to put in your cap. Knowing that new words don't exactly pop up every single day, it is all the more impressive for The Rock to creature such a time-honored word and make it something legitimate.
So, as we come up on the fifth anniversary of "smackdown" becoming a real word, it now becomes one of those very unique and cool honors that WWE can attach to themselves. The company has really taking themselves away from what the company had looked like just years earlier. Making up words can be easy and having kids cheer or boo louder about it makes it feel impossible at times and question your work. However, when something as innocent as a name in an insult of a promo from The Rock grows into a life of its own, you have to be doing something right.
Daniel Bryan's "YES" chant seems to be done at just about any wrestling event nowadays. Too bad that word has been used in common language for quite some time already. Perhaps the popularity of Zack Ryder will get the word "broski" to be recognized by the dictionary one day. After all, "brewski" is already in the dictionary.
Follow me on Twitter and tweet me with some words used in wrestling that you would like to see placed into the Webster's dictionary someday. I'll retweet some of my favorites.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!