Urban Dictionary

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 8 13:44:22 UTC 2014

Now that UD has a swado-hip following, however, some its coinages will
certainly get into the shite-geist.


On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 8:31 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:

> I used to refer to Urban Dictionary daily.
> If you know what you're looking for, it's like going into a playground and
> saying, "Hey, teens! What do you think of this groovy word?" And believing
> whatever they say.
> Without analysis.
> If you're looking for new terms in actual use, however, dream up your own.
>  My professional opinion is that the majority of entries that are
> unfamiliar to say, us, are jokes and coinages used by more or less nobody.
> I think it was 1946 when Morroe Berger wrote in _American Speech_ on "Some
> Excesses of Slang Compilers." That essay goes double now.
> JL
> On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 8:12 AM, Christopher Philippo <toff at mac.com> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Christopher Philippo <toff at MAC.COM>
>> Subject:      Urban Dictionary
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Wortham, Jenna. "A Lexicon of Instant Argot." N.Y. Times. January 3,
>> 2014.
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/04/technology/a-lexicon-of-the-internet-updated-by-its-users.html
>> A claim in the article that Urban Dictionary documents regional Internet
>> vernacular in real time in an important way is absurd. The majority of it
>> appears to be immature (and not infrequently disgusting or bigoted)
>> attempts at humor, not actual words anybody uses.  Wortham mentions “recent
>> casual references by figures like Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’”.  That’s
>> misleading: when I’ve heard him mention it, it’s in reference to the
>> disgusting contrived sexual acts people invent solely for Urban Dictionary.
>>  The often terrible examples and the lack of citations or even information
>> about what regions of the world or the Internet where the terms are
>> allegedly being used keeps the site at sub-amateur level.  ADS doesn’t seem
>> to think it is “important" or “the anthropologist of the Internet” (but if
>> I’m wrong, please correct me):
>> “A freewheeling and erratic compilation of words, invented and real,
>> submitted, defined, and approved by users."
>> http://www.americandialect.org/urbandictionarycom
>> Kaufman, Leslie. "For the Word on the Street, Courts Call Up an Online
>> Witness." N.Y. Times. May 20, 2013.
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/business/media/urban-dictionary-finds-a-place-in-the-courtroom.html
>> That there are judges citing Urban Dictionary in decisions is fairly
>> alarming - and that it’s cheaper than using an expert because it’s free is
>> not a good reason to use it.  It calls to mind a worse example:
>> “In determining whether to release the documents [in response to a
>> Freedom of Information Law request], the school searched both Wikipedia and
>> Google, Gauthier said.”
>> http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/ameast/story/2012-03-29/stony-brook-steve-pickiell-contract-secret/53838432/1 The State University of New York Freedom of Information Law Appeals
>> Officer citing Wikipedia is troublesome, and her citing “Google” (i.e. “the
>> Internet”) is akin to citing “the library”.  Ms. Gauthier has a salary of
>> about $90,000 (
>> http://new-york-employees.findthedata.org/l/2282018/Geraldine-M-Gauthier) yet does work that wouldn’t be accepted in a report by an elementary
>> school student.  I’ve found writing her about problems of SUNY compliance
>> with FOIL, the NY Personal Privacy Protection Law, and the Family
>> Educational Rights and Privacy Act to be useless: she’s never responded
>> once.  (Among other things, I once had to file a FOIL request for my own
>> grades for a class !
>>  because the professor wouldn’t provide them, and my department advisor,
>> the Registrar, and others wouldn’t help me obtain them.  I was charged
>> $30.00 to obtain my own grades for a class.  Nice scam they have going
>> there!)
>> Christopher K. Philippo
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list