'Shade' and 'Ghost' are not slang anymore, thanks to Merriam-Webster!

Count on Merriam-Webster to make a dictionary fun to read.

Ever since we were kids the mention of dictionary would bring to our mind the image of a bland and boring as hell book that we must read to know word meanings. But not when it’s Merriam-Webster. In one of the coolest developments in a dictionary yet, Merriam-Webster added 1,000 new words and officially freed them of their ‘slang’ status. In a series of tweets, the dictionary announced that they’ve now added ‘shade’, ‘side-eye’, and ‘ginger’.

The term ‘shade’, also used as ‘throwing shade’ translates to expressing discontempt for someone or even insulting them in public albeit indirectly. It’s first known usage is in the 1990 documentary film ‘Paris Is Burning’, but was popularized by the American reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race. The word could be used as a lopsided compliment or even be more aggressive in terms of an insult. Totally depends on how you wish to ‘shade’ your chosen victim.

About the word E. Patrick Johnson, a professor of African-American studies at Northwestern University says that shade is something that has been a part of the American black experience since slavery, when a direct insult could result in death. So, just in case you thought the folks at the dictionary were not taking their job seriously enough, Merriam-Webster also gives us this information along with the meaning of the word. They have good reason to have lifted ‘shade’ from its slang status.

Irrespective of whether or not you’ve ever seen RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’d have heard the word several times. It was quick to enter local usage and even media publications have made abundant use of the word. That’s not the only hip word straight out of pop-culture that the prestigious has taken into its ambit though. In a series of fun-filled, witty GIFs and tweets, Webster tells us about the coolest among their new inclusions.

Isn’t Merriam-Webster the coolest and the best at keeping up with the times that are a changin?

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