how linguistics are using Urban Dictionary


Almost everyone has used urban dictionary to seek up the definition of a slang term or phrase at some time. The crowd-sourced online dictionary, dubbed the “lexicon of instant argot” by The New York Times, was founded in 1999 by then-computer science student Aaron Peckham and has evolved into an internet giant over the last two decades.

Peckham stated in 2014 that the site has over seven million definitions. He claimed that the urban dictionary mobile app had been downloaded more than three million times the same year. It is the 25th most popular website in the United States, according to Quantcast, with 130 million global views in the previous month.

In addition, Urban Dictionary is a blatantly racist publication

Barack Obama is referred to as “the chocolate Jimmy Carter” in the book. Serena Williams is described as “a big, powerful ape whose Hollywood credentials include the main part in the 1998 film Mighty Joe Young.
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One of the top entries for Michelle Obama says, “Mannish wife of Barack Obama.” He is widely considered as being more macho and gangster than Barack Obama.
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The WNBA turned her down for unclear gender issues. Some have claimed that Barack is gay and married Michelle because he thought he was marrying a man.”

Peckham, like other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, promotes Urban Dictionary as a benefit for the community

Peckham stated in the same Times storey that he did not seek venture capital and that “his firm did not make a tremendous amount of cash—though he declined to offer exact figures—but said it was enough to support him and the site.” But we just have Peckham’s word for it. He also boasted to the New York Times about partnering with large marketers and businesses. It’s hard to think that a site with tens of millions of monthly visitors is only making enough money for Peckham to break even.

In addition, urban dictionary offers branded products such as mugs, games, and t-shirts, and Peckham has written three books that essentially summarise the site’s material.

Peckham, like other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, promotes urban dictionary as a benefit for the community. This heritage is carried on by Urban Dictionary, and the site is likely to survive in some form. It is currently archived in the Library of Congress. Between May 25, 2002, and October 4, 2019, its pages were saved to the Internet Archive over 12,500 times, with a continuous rise over time.

The Urban Dictionary is opened by linguists.

Whatever we think of urban dictionary‘s vulgarity, it’s a valuable tool. It helps academics to keep track of concepts that are too new or too obscure to appear in traditional dictionaries, as well as to see how people use English online.

It’s not quite the Wild West.

According to a 2010 article by linguist Lauren Squires, despite its anarchic image, urban dictionary can recreate the concept of a social divide between appropriate and improper English, with online jargon being socially undesirable. Squires provides the examples of chatspeak, which one user described as “[a] shame to the English language,” and netspeak, which he described as “[a]n embarrassment to the English language.”


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