The R-word is no longer occasionally disparaging and offensive as it is currently defined in the dictionary. From now on, the word is a racial slur in all cases (and it’s about time).
“In our next update, we’re removing ‘often’ so the label just reads ‘Slang: Disparaging and Offensive,’” Jane Solomon, senior content editor and lexicographer at Dictionary.com, told MTV News. Dictionary.com has recognized that the word's level of offensiveness has changed over the last half-centry, MTV News said.
New contextual adjustments to the R-word are being made across the board following the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s cancellation of the Washington NFL football team’s name. The recent update, for example, on Dictionary.com is one of those adjustments. And the Patent and Trademark Office has already denied six versions of the word: Redskins Fanatics, Redskin Pigskins, Washington Redskins Cheerleaders and Redskins Hog Rinds.
Dictionary.com, part of Random House Dictionary, was the first dictionary to include an offensive label on ‘redskin’ back in 1966.
“In the 1760s, French colonists translated a Native American self-referential term into the French ‘peau rouge,’ which soon after was translated into the English term ‘redskin,’” Solomon said. “In its early years, ‘redskin’ was used by Native American and white people alike, however its meaning has been loaded with the cultural context of the time. Historical uses of ‘redskin’ have been imbued with contempt and condescension, a fact that comes into play when considering whether or not ‘redskin’ is considered a slur.”
“So, is ‘redskin’ considered a slur?” Solomon added. “Definitely.”