Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/07/23/msword_2000_offensive_to_lesbians/

MSWord 2000 'offensive to lesbians,' says rock star

Well OK, he's a geologist really...

By John Lettice

Posted in Bootnotes, 23rd July 2002 12:00 GMT

Disgruntled geologist Alan Vaughan writes complaining about the grammar checker in Microsoft Word 2000, which he says denigrates lesbians. Dykes, as all good geologists know, "are thin sheets of magma that has frozen in cracks on its way up from the hot interior of the Earth."

And other things as well, of course. In Word 2000, if you type "the dykes which cut the granite are 2m wide," the grammar checker will change it to "the dykes who cut the granite are 2m wide." Since Alan told us this we at The Register have been striving to drive politically incorrect visions of burly granite-cutting Heroines of Soviet Labour from our minds, and we suggest you good people do likewise.

We do not, thank goodness, have a copy of Word 2000 to hand, so are unable to check on other permutations of dyke. Or indeed dike. The American Heritage Dictionary, which we consulted because it's free, and the OED isn't, tells us that a dike/dyke is "1a. An embankment of earth and rock built to prevent floods. b. Chiefly British A low wall, often of sod, dividing or enclosing lands. 2. A barrier blocking a passage, especially for protection. 3. A raised causeway. 4. A ditch; a channel. 5. Geology A long mass of igneous rock that cuts across the structure of adjacent rock."

Or indeed "Offensive Slang - Used as a disparaging term for a lesbian." Presumably Microsoft's grammar checker designers haven't heard of any of the other meanings. Which is odd, considering what they do for a living. ®