Md. Fifth-Grader Finds Mistake In Dictionary

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — For most of us, the dictionary is the ultimate source for spelling and definition of words. 

But as Mary Bubala reports, an area fifth-grader challenged what he saw in the Merriam-Webster’s Children’s Dictionary, and guess what, he was right!

Max Applegate, 11, opened a dictionary at his school library at West Annapolis Elementary to the definition for weakfish. Applegate saw it was wrong.  The weakfish is not a member of the perch family. It’s from the drum family.

“I looked at this one fish — the weakfish — and it had the wrong picture and the wrong definition,” said Applegate.

It’s first-hand knowledge. Applegate’s home is right on the water in Annapolis. The fifth-grader is an amateur fisherman and an aspiring marine biologist, and he knows his fish.

“Every morning in the summer I go down to the dock and I fish up there for an hour or two, and I catch white perch down there, some striped bass. I look up fish on Google and all that,” said Applegate.

With the help of the school librarian, Applegate emailed the publisher of the Merriam-Webster’s Children’s Dictionary, and thanks to him, the next edition will have the correct definition. 

“It can make a difference if you point out that something is wrong, bring it up, speak up, I don’t think this is right and don’t just let it pass by. Otherwise there could be generations of kids who have the wrong definition of weakfish and we just can’t have that,” said James Applegate, Max’s dad.

Along with making the correction, the publisher of the dictionary also set Max Applegate a book on his favorite subject: fish.

More from Mary Bubala
  • Greg

    Good job Max! It is great to see young people interested in something other than video games and television.

  • brenda burrows

    Way to go Max! Max was a third grader in my class 2 years ago and he certainly knows fish! He was a wonderful and inquisitive student! Glad to hear he still is! Great job, Max!

  • Darryl

    i don’t know, there’s something fishy about that :)

  • W. Craig Kenney

    Considering the subject of the story you’d think the writer would have proof-read their copy:

    “Along with making the correction, the publisher of the dictionary also ‘set’ Max Applegate a book on his favorite subject: fish.”

    Maybe Max will discover the error. Max has a bright future. Great story.

  • d.hammen

    Right on Max.. Great Job. What an awesome story.

  • Erick Oswinkle

    good job Max, now if the people at CBS could be as smart as you I wouldnt have found this story under the tag of “FIRTH-GRADER”

  • curiousone

    What a “catch” Max! Great job!

  • Bo Mullan

    Hey Max – awesome. When Sophie and Dylan get home from school I will show them the article. Greetings from San Francisco.

  • Ken Hibshman

    Congrats Uncle Max and Jim ! Loved the fedeo from Pa.

  • ivana

    how cool is this?? wtg Max

  • Gordon

    Way to go Max! You are smarter than a fith grader, or isthat firth grader?
    Your Uncle Gordo from Baghdad, Iraq

  • Justin Bieber

    Way To Go Max

  • Mary Sue

    Max, you are a role model for all of us to not let things go that are wrong. Thanks for your example!

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