Dictionary.com Adds 'Chile' And 'Finna' And Other Very Necessary AAVE To Its Database
The digital word database also removed the noun slave when referring to people, opting to use the adjective enslaved or a reference to the institution of slavery.
March 12, 2021 at 4:24 am
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and national discussions over racial reconciliation are more commonplace than ever, Dictionary.com has updated its database with new words regarding race, identity and the coronavirus.
The digital dictionary's database latest overhaul includes 94 new definitions to existing terms, 450 new entries and 7,600 updated entries, according to CNN. It has added words made popular by the Black community like “chile” and “finna,” as well as the term “superspreader,” which has become prominent since the start of the pandemic.
"We have added such terms as BIPOC, Critical Race Theory, and overpolice, which have risen to the top of the national discourse on social justice," John Kelly, Dictionary.com senior editor, said. "Another significant decision was to remove the noun 'slave' when referring to people, instead using the adjective 'enslaved' or referring to the institution of slavery. This is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure we represent people on Dictionary.com with due dignity and humanity."
The most recent news from Dictionary.com comes after several media organizations committed to sweeping reforms in regards to how they communicated about race, gender and mental health.
As Blavity previously reported, the Associated Press opted to capitalize the term Black this summer while keeping the entry for white lowercase, citing the cultural connection shared by the Black community as well as a “shared experience of discrimination” as reasons for the update. Organizations like Cleveland.com, BuzzFeed, Los Angeles Times and NBC have since followed suit.
“Most notably, people who are Black have strong historical and cultural commonalities, even if they are from different parts of the world," John Daniszewski, vice president of the AP, wrote in a blog post.
“We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore those problems. But capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs," he added.
In September, Dictionary.com also announced a slew of amendments, including that it would capitalize its entry for the term Black. But it went further in its work to honor marginalized communities and included entries for Afro-Latina, Afro-Latino, Afro-Latinx, Filipina, Filipinx, Pinay, Pinoy and Pinxy.
In its summer update, Dictionary.com changed instances of the word homosexual to gay, and the term homosexuality has been replaced by gay sexual orientation. The word database altered the meanings of words with the suffix 'sexual' to better represent "the complexity and richness of the experiences of these identities.”
"The work of a dictionary is more than just adding new words. It's an ongoing effort to ensure that how we define words reflects changes in language and life," Kelly expressed.
"These recent updates provide much-needed context on "our most personal levels: how we talk about ourselves and our identities, from race to sexual orientation to mental health," he said.