You read that right. Its a condensation of an actual dictionary entry. An entry in no less a dictionary than that of Merriam-Webster. And, they used their Twitter account to bring attention towards this new entry in their lexicon.
People who clicked the link were taken to the definition of the word on Merriam-Webster’s website. The word was followed by two definitions including “people who are docile, compliant, or easily influenced”. It seemed like just another definition until they paid attention to the second example used to demonstrate the usage of the word. It read:
Apple’s debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for.
This example is credited to Doug Criss who had used this sentence in a CNN article in 2015.
Of course, this did not go well with the Apple aficionados, even as people on the other side got busy making jokes and memes about it. The Android fans had the most amount of fun poking this example in the faces of their software turf rivals.
Interestingly, the word ‘sheeple’ has been in use for more than seven decades now, though informally. In fact, Oxford dictionary had added the word in their vocabulary several years ago.