Urban Dictionary defines slang for some court cases, but is it accurate?

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Caveat Emptor May 28, 2013

Accurate? No, it isn't. The definitions are usually highly subjective, overly scatalogically-obsessed in many cases and area or culturally specific. As the man says, “there is more chaff than wheat,”.

PS: "Hoe" is a perfectly innocent and useful gardening implement in my part of the world, rather than a lazily mispronounced synonym for strumpet. Nothing to see here folks, move along now...

[Edited at 2013-05-28 10:33 GMT]


United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
German to English
+ ...
The clue is in the question May 28, 2013

neilmac wrote:

No, it isn't.

See Betteridge's law of headlines, a.k.a. Davis' law.

* * *

BTW, the New York Times article, from which the ABA's piece seems to have been lifted, is far better.

Tom Dalzell, senior editor of The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, is a fan of Urban Dictionary, but he argues that the site has obvious limits.

"Using them in court is a terrible idea; they don’t claim to be an authority or a reference," he said. "Some of the stuff on their site is very good, but there is more chaff than wheat. It is a lazy person’s resource."

The definitions are ranked by popularity, with the idea that democracy will reveal some truth about how the word is really used. "Readers can tell not to put too much faith in a definition that is really unpopular," Mr. Peckham said.

He added: "Dictionaries may be more heavily researched, but the real authority on language and the meaning comes from people who speak the language. The whole point of Urban Dictionary is we are defining our own language as we speak it."

Jesse Sheidlower, editor at large for the Oxford English Dictionary, points out, however, that popular does not mean accurate. "People may like a word because it was posted by their friend or because it was funny," he said. (Mr. Peckham said that private analyses the site has conducted show that "funny" is the No. 1 reason people give for voting for posts.)


Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
German to English
If lawyers are serious about using Urban Dic... May 28, 2013

...then that tells us all we need to know about their profession IM-not very-HO.


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Urban Dictionary defines slang for some court cases, but is it accurate?

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