Sarah Palin and Shakespeare: What do they have in common? Refudiate.

Sarah Palin wrote in a Twitter message Sunday that Muslims should 'refudiate' a planned mosque near the World Trade Center site. Can Sarah Palin invent a word? William Shakespeare did, Palin tweeted in her own defense.

Erik S. Lesser/AP/File
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks in Duluth, Ga., in this June 29 file photo. Palin tweeted in a message Sunday that Muslims should 'refudiate' a planned mosque near the World Trade Center site.

“Refudiate” is not a real word. Not yet, at least – it’s not in any of the dictionaries we have in Vote Blog HQ’s oak-paneled library. But should it be? That’s another question, which Sarah Palin herself, who apparently coined “refudiate," has brought up. Never "misunderestimate" the beauty and adaptability of the English language.

Refudiategate erupted Sunday when the former Alaska governor tweeted that peaceful Muslims should “refudiate” the mosque planned near the World Trade Center site.

A slip of the finger, most likely. "Repudiate” would have worked just fine in that sentence. And if correct spelling were a requirement for Twitter posts than that whole vast enterprise would fall silent, except for the rare twittering grammarian.

But then Palin pulled her misspelled post and replaced it with one calling on Muslims to “refute the Ground Zero mosque plan." This confused the issue – implying, as it did, that the base verb “refute” might have been what she had in mind all along.

More controversy about spelling ensued. Finally, to end the whole thing, Palin tweeted that people should get just get over this.

“English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Get over it!” tweeted the former GOP VP candidate.

First of all, we would like to point out that we were the first news outlet in the world to use the word “Shakespeare” in the context of Sarah Palin. Thank you, thank you. Second, Palin is completely right.

About English, that is. Throughout its history it has been a living, breathing, changing entity, enriched by words from other languages and slang phrases. It is not formal and unchanging, like, say French. English is like America – dynamic.

So why not “refudiate”? Was not Palin’s meaning clear? We bet everybody who read that sentence knew what she meant. And isn’t that the point?

We must note, however, that the groups behind the project in question – a proposed 13-story building a few blocks from Ground Zero that will house a mosque, gym, community center for a number of groups, among other things – are not going to be “refudiating” their plans.

A spokeswoman for the project, Daisy Kahn, issued a written statement Sunday that said, in part, “We welcome the opportunity to discuss with Ms. Palin how Muslim Americans have an added responsibility to create a counter-momentum against extremism by building institutions like this center."

Meanwhile, folks on Twitter were having a great time Monday rewriting the Bard of Avon’s most famous phrases into more, um, Alaskan-sounding language. Among our favorites: “Get thee to a gunnery," and, “We few, we happy few, we band of Mama Grizzlies."


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