What Happened to Urban Dictionary?

The crowdsourced dictionary once felt like a pioneering tool of the early internet Now in its 20th year, it has become something much more inhospitable.

Curated via Twitter from WIRED’s twitter account….

Today, other digital portals—Twitter, Instagram, gossip blogs like Bossip and The Shade Room, even group texts on our smartphones—function as better incubators of language than Urban Dictionary. "In the early years of Urban Dictionary we tried to keep certain words out," Peckham once said. "But it was impossible—authors would re-upload definitions, or upload definitions with alternate spellings.

In its current form, Urban Dictionary is a cauldron of explanatory excess and raw prejudice. "The problem for Peckham's bottom line is that derogatory content—not the organic evolution of language in the internet era—may be the site's primary appeal," Clio Chang wrote in The New Republic in 2017, as the site was taking on its present identity.

However, has become a mindless forum of jokes, view-points, sex, and basically anything but the real definition of a word. " Where Oxford and Merriam-Webster erected walls around language, essentially controlling what words and expressions society deemed acceptable, Urban Dictionary, in its genesis, helped to democratize that process.

He wanted, in part, to help map the vastness of the human lexicon, in all its slippery, subjective glory (a message on the homepage of the site reads: "Urban Dictionary Is Written By You").

You can find definitions for just about anything or anyone: from popular phrases like Hot Girl Summer ("a term used to define girls being unapologetically themselves, having fun, loving yourself, and doing YOU") and In my bag ("the act of being in your own world; focused; being in the zone; on your grind") to musicians like Pete Wentz ("an emo legend. his eyeliner could literally kill a man"); even my name, Jason, has an insane 337 definitions (my favorite one, which I can attest is 1,000 percent true: "the absolute greatest person alive").

In fact, one of the site's definitions for sexism details it as "a way of life like welfare for black people. now stop bitching and get back to the kitchen. " Under Lady Gaga, one top entry describes her as the embodiment of "a very bad joke played on all of us by Tim Burton. " For LeBron James, it reads: "To bail out on your team when times get tough.

The site, it then seemed, was an oasis for all varieties of slang, text speak, and cultural idioms. (Later, as black culture became the principal vortex for which popular culture mined cool, intra-communal expressions like bae, on fleek, and turnt, were increasingly the property of the wider public. ) It was a place where entry into the arena did not require language to adhere to the rules of proper grammar. As Mary B.

The top definition for Urban Dictionary reads: "Supposed to [b]e a user-inputed dictionary for words.

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