Everyone who cares about such matters engages in both prescription and description, often confusing the two. So does every dictionary. Everyone, moreover, knows words shift in meaning over time. The real question, at the end of the day, is whether any distinction can be recognized, or should be maintained, between creative and destructive mutations.While this is about "usage" in the sense of language, there's also a lesson here for a certain breed of technology enthusiasts.
The analytic, lexically antinomian line is that, in themselves, words mean nothing; persons use them as instruments to mean this or that. But, conversely, persons can mean only what they have the words to say, and so the finer our distinctions and more precise our definitions, the more we are able to mean.
22 August 2011
From David Bentley Hart at First Things, writing about English usage rules: