Put Down The PSL: The Term 'Basic' Just Got A New Dictionary Definition
Put down your iPhone and step away from the Pumpkin Spice Latte. We've got news to share.
Earlier this week, Dictonary.com updated its digital definition archive to include more slang terms and secondary usages for already common words.
New entries include several definitions for “basic” that reflect the word's newfound usage as an insult.
Using the word “basic” to describe a boring, unoriginal person isn't exactly new: It was popularized in 2012, thanks to female rapper Kreayshawn's hit single “Gucci Gucci.” In the song, she pokes fun at “basic bitches” and their obsessions with trends and mainstream culture.
Jane Solomon, a lexicographer at Dictionary.com, explains,
These particular senses of basic started out as African-American slang. In this context, the adjective was originally used as a way to call someone out (usually a woman) on immature or obtuse behavior.
People began to use it in reference to material displays (drinking pumpkin lattes, wearing Uggs, caring about brand names) that they believed to be indicative of shallow behavior.
While the definition's official entry in the Dictionary.com archives does serve to legitimize the word, it should be noted the site's admission guidelines are far looser than printed dictionary's, simply because online space is far from limited.
It's unlikely the new definitions for “basic” will ever grace the pages of a printed dictionary -- fitting, considering the word's digital roots.