Urban Dictionary: Define Your World Library of Congress

Urban Dictionary

Hate speech and abusive content will evolve, and we’re committed to changing our policies to meet it. We will not allow Urban Dictionary to be a home for hate speech and abusive content. We support the work of Black Lives Matter to dismantle systemic racism.

Urban Dictionary

For each headword , we counted the number of entries and placed the headword in a frequency bin . For each sampled headword, we included the top two highest scoring entries and another random entry. We only included headwords with at least three definitions. In total, we obtained annotations for 1322 headwords and thus 3966 definitions. Out of Urban Dictionary these 1322 headwords there are 326 headwords for which the majority of the workers agreed that none of the definitions were offensive. While UD seems a promising resource to record and analyse language innovation, so far little is known about the characteristics of its content. In this study, we take the first step towards characterizing UD.

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It can also make people feel unsafe to speak up and share their language, silencing entire groups of people. Our own moderation team now reviews all newly-submitted and flagged definitions, and rejects definitions that violate our content guidelines. If you see a definition that violates our content guidelines, please flag it, and our moderation team will review it quickly. Most headwords in UD have only one entry, and, therefore, these headwords would dominate a random sample. Because such headwords tend to be uncommon, a random sample would not be able to give us much insight into the overall content of UD. We therefore sampled the headwords according to the number of their entries.

We accept our own responsibility to fight racism and hate, and acknowledge that we have failed to keep abusive content off our site. Under the old system, a definition was published when a majority of volunteer moderators decided it was worth publishing. We appreciate our volunteer moderators’ work over the years.

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As an online-only web site, it may seem like the issue of covid-19 doesn’t directly affect us. However, the reality is that the virus affects us all, whether we are online or offline. The spread of covid-19 can impact the overall health of our community. The quality was ensured using test questions https://www.wave-accounting.net/ and by restricting the contributors to quality levels two and three and the countries Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, and the USA. We marked the crowdsourcing tasks as containing explicit content, so that the tasks were only sent to contributors that accepted to work with such content.

  • To quantify this, we asked crowdworkers whether the word in the described meaning can be used in a formal conversation.
  • UD has also been used as a source to cross-check emerging word forms identified through Twitter .
  • And Urban Dictionary is regularly cited as a source in linguistics research, such as a 2015 paper by Natasha Shrikant on Indian American students.
  • Dictionaries record new words and new meanings, are regularly updated, and sometimes used as a source to study language change .
  • If you see a definition that violates our content guidelines, please flag it, and our moderation team will review it quickly.
  • Urban Dictionary’s move into the legal arena surprises no one more than Aaron Peckham, its founder, who has continued to run it like a homegrown business.

As future work, we plan to extend the current study by performing a deeper semantic analysis and by comparing UD with other non-crowdsourced dictionaries. Furthermore, we plan to extend the current study by comparing the content in UD with language use in social media to advance our understanding of the extent to which UD reflects broader trends in language use. The affordances of Internet-mediated crowd-sourced platforms have also led to the emergence of crowd-sourced online dictionaries. Over time, new words enter the lexicon, others become obsolete, and existing words acquire new meanings (i.e. senses) . Dictionaries record new words and new meanings, are regularly updated, and sometimes used as a source to study language change . However, a new word or a new meaning needs to have enough evidence backing it up before it can enter a traditional dictionary.

How Linguists Are Using Urban Dictionary

Urban Dictionary’s definition of to nut, for instance, has been brought up in a sexual harassment claim, and the meanings of jack were debated in a financial restitution case. While Urban Dictionary’s speed may be useful in a legal setting, some lexicologists believe that depending on a crowdsourced dictionary is risky. Because there is little curation of UD content, there are many headwords that would not typically be included in a dictionary. Based on manual inspection, it seems that these are often headwords with only one entry. We now compare the number of unique headwords in UD to the number of unique headwords in Wiktionary, another crowd-sourced dictionary. The content in Wiktionary is created and maintained by administrators , registered users and anonymous contributors . In contrast to UD, there are many different mechanisms in Wiktionary to ensure that the content adheres to the community guidelines.

  • Build your vocabulary with new words, definitions, and origin stories every day of the week.
  • Furthermore, entries can contain tags (e.g. #picture, #photograph).
  • In particular, an interesting question is whether online dictionaries not only record linguistic change but actually drive it, as some linguists suggest.
  • To quantify this, we asked crowdworkers whether they were familiar with the meaning of the word.

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