Vrinda Jagota
August 01, 2016 12:26 pm
Instagram/ Reversedshade

It’s common knowledge that dictionaries are a little behind on cultural vernacular. By the time “bae” made it into the books, people had already moved on. But thankfully, with the internet, there’s a little more wiggle room.

Dictionary.com recently updated its array of words, revising over 1,700 entries and adding 300 new words. The additions indicate cultural shifts currently occurring, and how people now need language to represent ideas that are circulating more and more frequently. Sometimes, these linguistic evolutions can be funny or can seem trivial, as with the addition of “athleisure” or “Minecraft”, but other changes indicate new mainstream political consciousnesses.

For example, the term “intersectional” has just been added. Originally an academic term, it is now a widely-used word that Dictionary.com describes as meaning, “the theory that the overlap of various social identities, as race, gender, sexuality, and class, contributes to the specific type of systemic oppression and discrimination experienced by an individual.”

It’s all thanks to Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which explores and celebrates the narratives, bodies, and experiences of Black women, that has brought the term into the mainstream.

By showcasing Black women first and foremost throughout the visual album, Beyoncé created art that demonstrates how race, class, gender, and sexuality overlap and must all be considered when speaking about oppression.

via giphy

A number of other terms that related to contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality were also included. For example, the term “lubersexual” was added, defined as “a man whose style of dress and appearance is reminiscent of the ruggedly masculine stereotype of the lumberjack.”

OK then!

via giphy

Then there’s “misgender,” which means “to refer to or address (a person, especially one who is transgender) with a pronoun, noun, or adjective that inaccurately represents the person’s gender or gender identity.”

The addition of this word comes after much mainstream discussion of trans rights and the notion that gender is not inherent, but is often performed, in flux, and much more complicated than we are conditioned to believe.

It is important to recognize that our current conversations should always be evolving, searching for new words and ideas, and we’re happy Dictionary.com is keeping up with the pace.

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