Eminem’s “Stan” Has Officially Been Added to the Oxford Dictionary
Countless slang words like “flee” and “lit” will enter our vernacular before eventually losing their seat at the cool kids table. But a slang term – particularly one that derives from Hip-Hop culture – that has such a lasting impact that it ends up in the Oxford Dictionary, those are rare indeed. “Stan” is the latest inductee into that unique category, and we’ve got Eminem to thank for it.
The Oxford English Dictionary has officially added “Stan” to its database, defining the word as “an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity.” Oxford’s definition agrees with the way the word has been used by rap fans for nearly two decades not only in meaning, but also in that it lists the word as one that can be used both as a noun and a verb.
The term “Stan” was first introduced on Eminem’s standout track of the same name in 2000. The somber ballad about a dangerously obsessive fan appeared on the Detroit emcee’s third studio album and second major label effort, The Marshall Mathers LP. The song takes a dark turn when Em’s crazed fan a.k.a. Stan is distraught over never getting a response to the letters he’s been writing to the rapper. Eminem finally responds to Stan in a letter, but it’s too late. Stan kills himself and his pregnant girlfriend before he ever gets Slim Shady’s letter. The depiction of the story’s conclusion was considered too gritty for North American cable networks, who often aired a censored version of the music video.
While the word “Stan” has only recently been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, the road to its status as an official word in the English language began two years ago when former Oxford Dictionary intern Lili Feinberg noticed its absence.
Photo Credit: Aftermath Records