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Merriam-Webster Discredits Itself by Declaring a Hot Dog Is a Sandwich


Travel Channel hosts Andrew Zimmern and Samantha Brown are not eating sandwiches in this photograph.
Travel Channel hosts Andrew Zimmern and Samantha Brown are not eating sandwiches in this photograph.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

The debate over whether a hot dog is a sandwich is tired and futile, with both sides firmly entrenched in their positions. On one side, you have correct people who do not believe a hot dog is a sandwich. On the other, you have fools who make themselves laughingstocks by believing a hot dog is, somehow, a sandwich. It's a debate that should be put to bed forever.

Well, Merriam-Webster is here to fire it up again and ruin everyone's Memorial Day weekend.

That tweet linked to a slideshow — Merriam-Webster does slideshows now? — detailing 10 different kinds of "sandwiches," including the hot dog. Of the summertime favorite, which most certainly is not a sandwich, Merriam-Webster says:

We know: the idea that a hot dog is a sandwich is heresy to some of you. But given that the definition of sandwich is "two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between," there is no sensible way around it. If you want a meatball sandwich on a split roll to be a kind of sandwich, then you have to accept that a hot dog is also a kind of sandwich.

You could hinge your anti-hot-dog-as-sandwich argument on whether the hot dog sausage qualifies as a "filling," but if you choose to interpret filling narrowly as only "a food mixture used to fill pastry or sandwiches," rather than broadly as "something used to fill a cavity, container, or depression," then you're not going to allow any single-item filling to qualify a food item as a sandwich—which means there can be no thing as a peanut butter sandwich or a bologna (or even baloney) sandwich.

Merriam-Webster is citing rules, and rules are made to be broken — especially when it comes to the English language. A hot dog is not a sandwich. A hot dog is a hot dog. By arguing otherwise, Merriam-Webster has torn its credibility asunder. The people agree.

Hot Dog Sandwich

Hot Dog Sandwich 2

Hot Dog Sandwich 3

Now, let's never speak of this again.

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