Merriam-Webster will officially add the phrase “Tommy John surgery” to its dictionary on Monday, Keegan Matheson of Baseball Toronto reports.
“Tommy John surgery” is, of course, an easier way to reference ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery. The procedure was colloquially named after former pitcher Tommy John, the first player to undergo the procedure, performed by surgeon Frank Jobe in 1974. “Tommy John surgery” involves replacing the UCL with another tendon, usually from elsewhere in the patient’s body but sometimes from a cadaver.
Many think of the dictionary, as well as general language rules, as static and unchanging. Language, however, is always evolving and reference materials like the dictionary need to evolve along with it. Among some of the more interesting phrases added to the dictionary in recent years are “tl;dr,” “rando,” and “mansplain.”