- Internet & the Web
Urban Dictionary - submit your legacy to the contemporary English language
Some months ago my son called me into the room, saying he'd found a website that provides amusing meanings for first names. I came and took a look at this site, called Urban Dictionary, and read the meaning provided on my son's first name. Afterward, we looked up my name and then other members of our family. It was fun, but I had to say, the meanings at this site are nothing like the traditional meanings found in other name resources, specifically the baby names depots. I noticed, too, that there were more than one meaning for several of the first names we looked up. Some of these were sweet, others funny, some unbecoming and in a few incidents somewhat suggestive (although humorously so).
After my son went off to bed that night my curiosity led me back to the website for a more thorough look-see. I found that this site not only contains scores of first names and their meanings, but more so, countless words and phrases. As I browsed through several pages of entries I discovered that most of these are slang terms, usually modern but some antiquated. Other entries were phrases or description terminology. A lot of them I'd heard or read before but some were new to me. But on further research one common thing I found about the entries is that they all appeared to be submitted by visitors who are no more professional dictionary contributors than myself.
Being the curious person I am I decided to try my hand at submitting a word. To do this I went to the Add page and there found an application form. It was simple to use. The first box prompted for the Word I wanted to submit. The second box prompted for a Definition. The third box asked for an Example. After this was the Tags box, followed lastly for boxes to fill in my email address for submission confirmation and another for giving a contributor's pseudonym. The hardest part of the process was thinking of a word I wanted to submit.
After choosing a word and filling out the application I hit the send button. Almost immediately I received an email confirming the submission, and which also gave me a page to go to to preview and edit the submission if I wanted. After reviewing this page I was prompted to send the approved submission to the editor/reviewer process and this time got an online confirmation message. Two or three days later Urban Dictionary sent me an email to say that my submission had been accepted and that the entry was scheduled to appear on the site within a few days. About twenty-four hours later the entry indeed appeared.
Since that first submission I have had 8 entries accepted and included in Urban Dictionary under the pseudonym redPooka
Here is my latest entry:
Tripped into the lifeboat
A descriptive phrase meaning when a person offers a fictional account of an unlikely accident to excuse a huge real-life blunder or to cover up an act of pure cowardice.
The Captain would have stayed behind with the sinking ship if he hadn't tripped into the lifeboat.
The ER staff really tripped into the lifeboat with the patient.
He tripped into the lifeboat on that decision.
Related words and phrases: cowardice, excuse, coward, chicken, screwed up, jumped the shark, liar, blunder, cover up
In addition to being able to look up slang, humorous name meanings and the use of a thesaurus submitters can also opt to receive Urban Dictionary's free word of the day. I opted for this and it arrives early in the morning, and I like this as these are generally humorous and I find humor a nice addition to the first cup of coffee for the day.
Urban Dictionary website and submission process Pro's and Con's
The basic website:
The website is easy to use and understand.
A functioning thesaurus
Unusual and usually interesting first name meanings
Comprehensive inclusion of contemporary slang
No obstructing pop-ups on site
No bothersome video ads on site
A store where you can purchase cups, mugs, tee shirts and other items decorated with your favorite Urban Dictionary words and phrases
Ability to edit submissions
Confirmation of accepted or not accepted submissions
The basic website
Visitors who tend to be offended by frank language may find certain entries unpleasant
Waiting to hear if your submission is accepted or denied by UD editors varies greatly. I have had to wait as little as 24 hours and waited as long as a month for a final decision.
Editors do not provide a reason when a submission is denied for entry. This can be frustrating if you have watched your grammar and carefully gone over your submission before sending on to the last stage. I can only speculate on why this is: 1. there is more than one editor and while one editor may appreciate your sense of humor others aren't?, 2. certain editors expect pure slang or pubescent entries and just don't consider the idea that articulate, intelligent people would ever visit the site?, 3. the submitted word or phrase is just dumb?, 4. your submission is mean-hearted?, 5. your submission sounds like it was written by someone who couldn't even pass a Kindergarten-level grammar class?
I find Urban Dictionary an entertaining site to find meanings of everyday modern slang. It is also fun to browse through just for the humorous elements found in many of the entries. I also welcome the easy submission process and enjoy the word of the day that arrives each morning. I definitely recommend Urban Dictionary for those who enjoy finding the definitions of slang they aren't overly familiar with. Also, the thesaurus works well and the name meanings given by the wide-range of diverse contributors is quite fascinating. For those looking for a website different from the ordinary online dictionaries or first name warehouses the Urban Dictionary is sure to entertain soundly. The only exception to this recommendation: if you are easily offended by frank language, there is a good chance you'll be shocked by some entries.
Visitor Use Rating: 5 Stars
Submission Process Rating: 4 and 1/2 Stars