It seems some definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) are in need of an overhaul. This came to light last week when Canadian anthropologist Michael Oman-Reagan suggested the dictionary rethink its choice of “rabid feminist” as a usage example for the word “rabid,” defined as “having or proceeding from an extreme or fanatical support of or belief in something.” Oman-Reagan also discovered sexist usage examples for “shrill,” “nagging,” “bossy,” “grating,” “promiscuous” and others that are steeped in stereotype.
Because of the hoopla this caused (“rabid” trended straight No. 1 on the dictionary’s website), the OED has announced it will review these definitions. Here are a few suggestions to help them out.
The word: Rabid
OED definition: Having or proceeding from an extreme or fanatical support of or belief in something: a rabid feminist.
May we suggest: Rabid One Direction fans.
The word: Shrill
OED definition: A shrill sound or cry: the rising shrill of women’s voices.
May we suggest: The rising shrill of a howler monkey. (It’s said they need to sleep as much as 15 hours to recover from their siren-like howling.)
The word: Psyche
OED definition: The human soul, mind, or spirit: I will never really fathom the female psyche.
May we suggest: I will never really fathom Donald Trump’s psyche.
The word: Grating
May we suggest: The grating sound of the dentist’s drill. Or if you want to get more specific, Nickelback’s Rockstar.
The word: Promiscuous
OED definition: Having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships: she’s a wild, promiscuous, good-time girl.
May we suggest: Women are more often criticized than men for promiscuous behaviour.
The word: Bossy
OED definition: Fond of giving people orders; domineering: a bossy, meddling woman.
May we suggest: She’s not bossy. She’s the boss.
The word: Nagging
OED definition: May we suggest: A nagging child.