ur*ban dic*tio*nary

Meranda Watling

Web site provides some interesting, amusing definitions for slang words

Urbandictionary.com, a popular Web site, allows users to define their own slang words.

Credit: Andrew popik

At first glance “crunk,” “milkshake,” “Kent State” and “Microsoft” seem to have nothing in common.

Unless you count appearing in the Urban Dictionary, that is.

Urbandictionary.com is a site that allows users to search and define slang terms. Although the title says urban, most of the words defined aren’t. And many of them aren’t really slang either. But that only adds to the fun. All definitions are added by users.

To define Microsoft, for example, one person said only: “See World Domination.”

Kent State is also defined humorously. One person, identifying himself as D$, took his frustration out by defining it as: “A really shitty school were (sic) nothing ever goes on on Friday nights and we get pissed so we drive 2.5 hours to BG where one of my friends gets an underage for peeing behind a building!! And that’s all because of Kent State!” Not quite urban, or necessarily accurate, but entertaining nonetheless.

That’s also one of the potential problems with the Urban Dictionary — people define the same words differently. Matt Cox, junior fine arts major, said he doesn’t think the dictionary would be accurate because people in different areas may use the same words for different things.

“I think I’d ask someone before looking (a word) up,” Cox said. “There’s so many words with different meanings, plus regional differences. You can’t just go to one dictionary and look it up.”

Some students prefer to just ask friends for the definitions, or they infer the definition for themselves.

“I transferred here, so there were a lot of people who spoke different slang, so I’d ask them,” junior psychology major Channon Cotton said, “Sometimes you can pick up on context clues.”

Take the word “crunk” for example. There are 118 definitions in the urban dictionary. It could mean, as Heybalooky points out, “a mixture of the word crazy and drunk.” J-Dubya defines it more broadly: “Much like ‘off da hook’ this term applies to an event or place that is particularly good and/or fun.”

Although anyone can contribute a definition with a pseudonym, the site does have a plan for quality control. Users can rate each definition thumbs up or thumbs down, and for inappropriate or incoherent definitions users can recommend they be removed. Another user ultimately determines if the definition will stay or go.

The real benefit of the dictionary, though, isn’t that it lets users add or control the definitions — it’s the search feature. Many students, like freshman exploratory major Lauren Krebs, have heard songs and not known the meaning of a word in the song.

“Like when they say, ‘You’re a dime plus 99,’” Krebs said. “But, I don’t know what it means. Does it mean she’s really hot, or she’s easy?”

Urban Dictionary defines a dime as a woman who is a perfect 10.

Rachel Kindos, freshman hospitality management major, echoed Krebs: “What’s ‘milkshake’? You don’t know, but you sing it anyway.”

So the next time “Milkshake” comes on the radio, rather than risk looking foolish, look it up.

Contact technology reporter Meranda Watling at [email protected].