Dictionary.com announced its latest language updates as we reach the one year anniversary of our communal COVID-19 lockdown. In a year marked by new modes of communicating and advocating, the updates reflect our new reality with additions like "doomscrolling," "Zoom," and "BIPOC," (Black Indigenous and People of Color).
The 2021 additions were announced on Thursday and include 7,600 updated entries, including 450 new words and 94 new definitions for existing entries.
Dictionary.com will no longer use the term "slave" in entries for related phrases (like Harriet Tubman, plantation, and underground railroad), instead replacing the noun with the adjective "enslaved" or referring to the institution of slavery itself where possible. This language shift has come alongside a greater push to understand the complex history (and repercussions) of slavery in the United States. As New York Times Magazine writer Nikole Hannah-Jones explained on NPR's Fresh Air in regards to the decision to use the term "enslaved person" and not "slave" in her writing, "It was very important...to not use language that further dehumanizes people who every system and structure was designed to dehumanize. Read more...More about Dictionary.Com, Social Good, Identities, and Activism