Frindle Questions and Answers
by Andrew Clements

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What does "Move over, Mr.Webster" mean?  

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Declan Kuhlman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Nick Allen chooses to test his teacher, Mrs. Granger, by inventing the word "frindle." He uses this word in place of "pen" and is able to get his classmates, and eventually the entire school, to use it as well. The premise of Frindle is the back-and-forth between Nick and his teacher over the "creation" of this silly word.

In chapter 11, the fifth-grade newspaper is looking for a good story to report on. The Westfield Gazette publishes a story on their front page that reads, "Local Fifth Grader says, Move over Mr. Webster." The story is obviously about Nick and the invention of his new word, "frindle." The clever headline is in reference to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, created in part by Noah Weber in 1806.

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Dorothea Tolbert eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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On the front page of the Thursday morning edition of The Westfield Gazette, the headline was the following:

Local 5th Grader Says, "Move over, Mr. Webster"

The newspaper article was about Nick Allen and how he was "cleverly [raising] issues about free speech and academic rules."  Nick Allen and his classmates wanted to call pens "frindles."  Their teacher, Mrs. Granger, had forbidden them from saying the word in class.  The article referred to Nick as "the boy who invented the new word" because it had been his idea.  

It had all started when Nick prepared an oral report about the origin of words and how they got in the dictionary.  This started a discussion on who decides that a word means what it means.  Nick realized that he could invent a word of his own.  His word was "frindle."  This was where the reference to Mr. Webster in the newspaper article came from. Noah Webster, Jr. was famous for compiling and publishing dictionaries in the 1800s.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary became a famous and widely published book of reference.

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