The Oxford English Dictionary has recently added a new batch of word entries including the term “woke”, hopefully settling the debate once and for all of whether it’s acceptable for everyone to use it.
According to the dictionary, “woke” has been in use since the 1960s, but used to mean “well-informed, up-to-date”. According to the OED, the modern use of “woke” means being “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice;” and is often used in the context of “stay woke.”
OED spokesman Katherine Martin told TIME Magazine that the word used to mean just being awake, noting that people in Harlem used to hold an all-night event in the 1920s called “Stay Woke Ball”.
But the meaning of the word changed in the 1960s and started to refer to people who are awakened or well-informed.
Only with the advent of social media did “woke” become a part of the far-Left lexicon, often in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, to signal someone’s awareness to various insidious forms of racism, intersectionality and white privilege.
MTV News infamously released a short clip urging white men to abandon the word. In the now-deleted video titled “2017 New Years Resolutions for White Guys”, people demanded white men “stop bragging about being woke” and “stop saying woke”.
Aside from “woke”, the OED also added these words and terms to its updated edition:
Boston marriage (noun): used euphemistically to refer to the cohabitation of two women, esp. in a romantic relationship or intimate friendship
Bug chaser (noun): a person who studies or collects insects or other bugs; an entomologist. Often somewhat depreciative.
Come-to-Jesus (adjective): of a meeting, discussion, encounter, etc.: that results or is intended to result in a significant shift in the current way of thinking about or doing something.
Post-truth (adjective): relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping political debate or public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
Son of a bachelor (noun): used as a term of abuse or contempt.
Swimmer (noun): a sperm.
Thing (noun): A genuine or established phenomenon or practice. Typically somewhat depreciative, often in questions conveying surprise or incredulity.
Unclick (verb): on a computerized form or menu: to deselectuptalk (verb): to utter declarative statements with a rising intonation at the end (a speech pattern more typically associated with questions).