The Oxford Dictionary has put itself into an Indian political debate after Rahul Gandhi, the Congress chief, claimed that there was a new word in the English language – “Modilie”, targeting PM Modi for “constantly modifying the truth”.
The Congress chief tweeted a photoshopped screenshot of the dictionary’s website and said, “There is a new word in the English Dictionary”.
Replying to Mr Gandhi’s tweet, Oxford Dictionary said that the image he has shared was “fake” and “does not exist”.
Mr Gandhi did not name the Oxford Dictionary but the screenshot shared by him showed a website that resembled that of the celebrated publication, complete with an ad for the Congress.
One of the definitions inside the screenshot shared by Mr Gandhi was- “To constantly Modify the truth”. This was a play on words using the Prime Minister’s surname to indicate that he has a habit of not speaking the truth on a number of issues.
There were two other definitions, “to lie incessantly and habitually” and “to lie without respite”.
The screenshot also termed “Modilie” as a “mass noun”. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a mass noun denotes something that cannot be counted and which does not have a plural word in ordinary usage.
Doubling down on the campaign, on Thursday Rahul Gandhi also tweeted the link to a website which he said “catalogues the best Modilies!”
“‘It’s a new word that has become popular worldwide,” he said in the tweet.
His invective was slammed by BJP supporters.
The head of the BJP IT cell, Amit Malviya, retweeted Oxford Dictionary’s tweet.
Rahul Gandhi had launched an attack on Union Minister Arun Jaitley in 2017, modifying his surname as “Jetlie”. BJP had then accused him of “intentionally twisting” Mr Jaitley’s name.