Word

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This month the Oxford English Dictionary’s getting in line with the times with 1,200 new additions—including the ever-so-popular (and perhaps a bit overused? Fight us) “woke”.

“By the mid-20th century, woke had been extended figuratively to refer to being ‘aware’ or ‘well informed’ in a political or cultural sense,” writes OED. “In the past decade, that meaning has been catapulted into mainstream use with a particular nuance of ‘alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice’, popularized through the lyrics of the 2008 song ‘Master Teacher’ by Erykah Badu, in which the words ‘I stay woke’ serve as a refrain, and more recently through its association with the Black Lives Matter movement, especially on social media.”

While we’re here, some #BlackEtymology for you:

Distinguished Black novelist William Melvin Kelley was credited by OED for coining “woke” in 2014. According to PublicBooks.org, the term appeared in a 1962 New York Times article “If You’re Woke You Dig It; No mickey mouse can be expected to follow today’s Negro idiom without a hip assist. If You’re Woke You Dig It.”

Stay woke, no pun intended. And in case you missed it:

Earlier this year Dictionary.com updated its site with 300 new words and definitions, including “Black Lives Matter” and “alt-right.”

“English is constantly changing and growing,” they said. “Thanks to the diverse people who speak it and the times they (we) live in, new words enter the language all the time. The dictionary’s job is to reflect and celebrate that evolution.”

Peep some more of OED’s June 2017 additions here.


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