Slang has always been a challenge for the courts in cases that involve vulgar or insulting language. Conventional dictionaries lag the spoken word by design. That has lawyers and judges turning to a more fluid source of definitions: Urban Dictionary, a crowdsourced collection of slang words on the Internet.
Since conventional dictionaries don’t always include the latest in slang terminology, lawyers and judges are looking to define language in court cases by turning to Urban Dictionary.
The site’s been used in cases ranging from a sexual harrassment lawsuit in Tennessee to a financial restitution case in Wisconsin, and it’s a trend that some legal minds don’t see reversing any time soon.
Watson, IBM's supercomputer, memorized Urban Dictionary. Then it was taken away.
Once scholars agonised for years over additions to language. Now, online dictionaries enable instant updates