“Manspreading” is now in the Oxford English Dictionary

A sleeping manspreader. Photo: doug turetsky/flickr creative commons
A sleeping manspreader. Photo: doug turetsky/flickr creative commons

Manspreading–the phenomenon in which a man forcefully spreads his legs to commandeer more seating space in a crowded area–has officially been verified as a real word by the highest arbiter of the English language on earth. The Oxford English Dictionary has helped vindicate all the New York City subway commuters who contend daily with selfish hordes of men (and women) who require too much room for themselves, by formally enshrining the word in their latest online dictionary update. 

Fiona McPherson, a senior editor at Oxford Dictionaries, told The Guardian that the OED’s choice wasn’t a reflection of “dumbing down” their protocol, but of acknowledging the ways in which lexicons currently evolve in both public and digital forums. In other words, the OED’s decision reflects the evolution of language in the 21st century:

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. 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.

“Manspread,” wasn’t the only vernacular term granted recognition by the OED in their newest induction, as others like “bruh,” (and endearing term for your homie, or bro) and “pocket dial” (when you unintentionally call someone with your butt) made the list as well.

The concept of “manspreading” has already seeped its way into our daily parlance and train of thought though, so recognition on behalf of the OED only reinforces the grim horrors that New Yorkers have experienced for years. If you don’t recall, the MTA even used the word in a campaign to thwart the practice, threatening arrest to any rogue manspreader too remiss to realize that they’re a complete nuisance.

Anyway, here’s the OED’s official definition of the word:

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.”

[HT Gothamist]

Follow Sam Blum on Twitter @Blumnessmonster 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here