‘Manspreading,’ Scourge of MBTA, Added to Oxford Online Dictionary

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Photo by Richard Yeh/WNYC

Photo by Richard Yeh/WNYC

First manspreading ruins your commute, now it gets a spot in the Oxford Online Dictionary. Is there no justice in this world?

“Manspreading,” scourge of all MBTA travel, was announced as one of roughly 1,000 entries, along with “mic drop,” “hangry,” “bruh,” “weaksauce,” “awesomesauce,” “wine/beer o’clock”, and “NBD”—that is, “no big deal.”

The dictionary defines man spreading as “the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats.”

It’s important to note that inclusion in the Oxford Online Dictionary is a far cry from the Oxford English Dictionary, which added “Masshole” in June. A word must first demonstrate “continued historical use.” This could prove problematic for manspreading, as both New York and Seattle‘s public transit systems have mounted campaigns aimed at eradicating the invasive practice.

“There’s always been new slang words. I just think we are more aware of them because of the ways in which we consume and live our lives now,” Fiona McPherson, senior editor of Oxford Dictionaries, told the BBC. “We are bombarded with more and more avenues where those sort of words are used and we just think that there are more of them. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case.”

Manspreading is typically paired with public shaming of the manspreaders (spreaderatti?). For example:

More #manspreading. #mbta #orangeline pic.twitter.com/8dC1uxhqRy

— Angela (@angelahockman) August 10, 2015

#manspreading on #mbta #RedLine #commuterproblems #bostonproblems pic.twitter.com/Faj0kVrfJR

— SabrinaWiseLatina™ (@WiseLatinaBR) July 30, 2015

@MBTA @universalhub @OrangeLineProbs man spreading and donut safety day on the orange line pic.twitter.com/hbfLc4F4Ju

— dancehallhiips (@dancehallhiips) June 16, 2015

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2015/08/27/manspreading-dictionary/