Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Luddite


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is luddite. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Luddite refers to someone who is opposed to change, and especially to technological change.

// Call me a Luddite, but I enjoy the sense of privacy that comes with not owning a smartphone.

LUDDITE in Context

“A high school English teacher who has been working for more than a quarter century, Beasley is no Luddite. She taught online courses before the pandemic and has used a learning-management system for years, unlike some of her colleagues, who still prefer a traditional pen-and-paper grade book.” — Alyson Klein, Education Week, 8 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

Long before your Luddite friend was waxing poetic about how blissful it is to not have a smartphone, Luddites were protesting the textile machinery that was slowly replacing them. It was toward the end of 1811, in the vicinity of Nottingham, England, when handicraftsmen formed organized bands and began to riot for the destruction of the new machinery. Their name is of uncertain origin, but it may be connected to a (probably mythical) person named Ned Ludd. According to an unsubstantiated account in George Pellew’s Life of Lord Sidmouth (1847), Ned Ludd was a Leicestershire villager of the late 1700s who, in a fit of rage, rushed into a stocking weaver’s house and destroyed his equipment; subsequently, his name was proverbially connected with machinery destruction. With the onset of the information age, Luddite gained a broader sense describing anyone who shuns new technology.

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