Merriam-Webster appears to jab Brit Hume for citing its first definition of racism to defend Trump

The official Twitter account for Merriam-Webster Dictionary appeared to jab Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume on Tuesday for citing its first definition of racism to defend President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE’s tweets about Democratic congresswomen of color.

Hume took to Twitter on Monday to condemn the president’s tweets, which said the congresswomen should "go back" to other countries, writing that they were “nativist, xenophobic, counterfactual and politically stupid,” but not racist.

He defended his stance by pointing “definition 1” under "racism" on Merriam-Webster’s website.

The first definition reads: “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

The dictionary’s social media account, on Monday, appeared to call out the Fox News host for not reading on for more information.


“Many of our entries have helpful usage notes if you scroll farther than the first definition,” Merriam-Webster wrote.

The image includes a paragraph farther down on the webpage to which Hume linked, which says that “dictionaries are often treated as the final arbiter in arguments over a word’s meaning, but they are not always well suited for settling disputes.”

“The lexicographer’s role is to explain how words are (or have been) actually used, not how some may feel that they should be used, and they say nothing about the intrinsic nature of the thing named by a word, much less the significance it may have for individuals,” the website states.

Merriam-Webster notes that while discussing concepts like racism, it is “prudent” to recognize that simply quoting the dictionary “is unlikely to either mollify or persuade the person with whom one is arguing.”

Trump sparked outrage Sunday morning when he tweeted that unidentified progressive congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe" should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

He did not identify to whom he was referring, but the comments were widely interpreted as targeting Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump CBS to Ocasio-Cortez on Sanders support: 'As a woman of color, why back an old white guy?' MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarNorth Dakota GOP state lawmaker shares debunked photo, calls Omar a 'terrorist' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThese 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (Mass.), all four of whom are U.S. citizens.

Democrats have blasted Trump for using a racist trope, and a handful of Republicans, including Reps. Will Hurd (Texas) and Michael Turner (Ohio), have described the language as racist, though most Republicans have stopped short of using the term explicitly.

The president now faces an upcoming House vote to explicitly condemn the tweets as racist. 

The text of the resolution, which is sponsored by freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), states that the House "strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should 'go back' to other countries."

The resolution also states that the House "believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations" and "is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin."