If there's one thing that's wrong with the English language, it's that there just aren't enough words. Luckily for all of us, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin invented a new one this weekend, and then compared herself to Shakespeare.
(Some background: A Muslim group wants to build an Islamic community center in a building about two blocks from the World Trade Center site; it would have a swimming pool and an auditorium in addition to a mosque. A bunch of idiot bigots want to stop them from doing so because [THE PART WHERE I POUND MY HEAD ON THE KEYBOARD REDACTED])
Palin first used the word while appearing on Sean Hannity's Fox News show on July 14 (see above video), where she was attempting to break the world record for run-on sentence length while discussing the NAACP's resolution on the Tea Party and racism. "[Barack and Michelle Obama] have power in their words," she said. "They could refudiate what it is that this group is saying." (What ended up happening was that Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams wrote a racist blog post in response, thereby doing to the resolution the exact opposite of whatever "refudiate" means.)
Feeling emboldened by her successful use of the word on Hannity, Palin whipped it out again in the above Tweet. But she didn't quite have the courage of her convictions, and when various mean professor-types pointed out that "refudiate" is "not an actual word, in any dictionary," she replaced it with "refute":
But, ugh, writing is so hard! That doesn't work so well either, since according to so-called "dictionaries," "refute" means "disprove" or "deny," not "reject" or "refuse." So Palin went back to the drawing board:
Having finally vanquished the forces of Muslim community centers with a coherent bit of 140-character bigotry, Palin decided to respond to her lexicographical critics, using the "Shakespeare made up words too" defense:
Well, that settles it: Sarah Palin is Shakespeare, and if you think "refudiate" is a dumb word that doesn't mean anything new, it is because you are not celebrating the English language, and are probably some kind of Mexican.
(Lexicographical note: As Language Log points out, Palin may not be the first person to use "refudiate"—a science fiction author named John Sladek used it in a story from his book The Lunatics of Terra.)