Merriam-Webster silences sexist 'female Doctor Who' trolls with a single tweet

Online dictionary takes a cheeky swipe at outraged Doctor Who 'fans'.

Dr Who: Fans divided over first female Time Lord Jodie WhittakerNewsweek

Online dictionary website Merriam-Webster has waded into the baffling controversy surrounding the appointment of a female lead in the beloved sci-fi TV show, Doctor Who.

Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker was confirmed to be the 13th Doctor on 16 July, marking the first time the BBC series' eponymous Time Lord will be played be a woman. The decision was met by a swarm of misogynistic posts on Twitter prompting the wearisome hashtag "#NotMyDoctor".

While there were many long-time Doctor Who fans defending Whittaker's selection, the volume of tweets accusing the BBC of pandering and 'political correctness' led to a number of linguistic inaccuracies that seemingly perked Merriam-Webster's interest.

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Following almost two full days of sexist tweets arguing that the show should be renamed to "Nurse Who" and that The Doctor is, and always has been, a male character, Merriam-Webster posted the below tweet:

The deliciously matter-of-fact tweet prompted some users to question how a woman could assume the role of a "Time Lord", pointing to the latter word as meaning the "male head of the household" - a definition which Merriam-Webster itself lists as obsolete.

Lexical pedantry aside, those defending their questionable view that The Doctor is exclusively male seem to have missed several established aspects of Doctor Who lore.

For the uninitiated, "Time Lords" are a time-travelling alien species from the planet Gallifrey that are capable of regenerating into a new form (when a new actor is cast) if mortally wounded. Crucially, Time Lords have been shown to switch genders during regeneration in previous episodes - The Doctor's nemesis The Master being the most recent example.

This isn't the first time that Merriam-Webster has waded into a hot topic issue on Twitter, of course. The account has previously taken aim at a typo in a tweet by US president Donald Trump, as well as one of the many notable blunders by White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.

Whittaker is expected to debut as The Doctor during the show's Christmas special later this year. The episode will also mark the departure of current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and showrunner Steven Moffat.

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