Frindle Questions and Answers
by Andrew Clements

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According to Mrs. Granger, how do words get their meanings and when do new words enter the language in Frindle?

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tstrelevitz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In the book Frindle Mrs. Granger tells the class that words are decided on by the people as a collective. She adds that the dictionary is a reflection of our decisions. Mrs. Granger refers to the dictionary as "the law" because it has been worked on by so many people for so many years. Frindle is the story of a social experiment, as Nick takes Mrs. Granger’s word and rolls with it. He invents the word “frindle” and gets support from him peers. The word snowballs until the whole schools begins to recognize it. Soon it has acknowledged meaning and is used in daily conversation. Nick gets to see firsthand how words enter the language. He pushes back on Mrs. Granger's belief that the dictionary is the law by showing that if people agree on a word, it does not matter if it ever makes into a dictionary.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Mrs. Granger says that words enter our language when people begin using them, and their meaning comes from the people.

When Nick gives his report on the dictionary, he tries to distract Mrs. Granger by asking her where words come from.  He does not get the answer he expects.

We all agree … But of course, the dictionary was worked on by hundreds of very smart people for many years, so as far as we are concerned, that dictionary is the law. (ch 5, p. 31)

In an interview, Nick tells Alice Lunderson that his teacher told him words get their meanings from people.

“Well, my teacher Mrs. Granger said that all the words in the dictionary were made up by people, and they mean what they mean because we say they do.” (ch 12, p. 75)

Mrs. Granger’s lesson was not lost on Nick.  He realizes that he can create his own word, and he does.  As a result of his experiment, the whole school and then the whole town begins using the word frindle, and soon it makes the national media and even enters the dictionary.   

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