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Oxford Dictionary Promises Review After Accusations Of Sexism In Definitions

01/27/2016 09:56 EST

Oxford Dictionary issued an apology for a "flippant" tweet and promised to review its example sentences after a Canadian anthropologist cited examples of sexism in their text.

Michael Oman-Reagan slammed the publication on Twitter last week for its example sentence for the word "rabid," which, according to the dictionary means, "having or proceeding from an extreme or fanatical support of or belief in something." The example phrase for the definition? "A rabid feminist."

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The Newfoundland-based PhD candidate suggested that Oxford review its listing, and also cited several other examples that he said produced "sexist stereotypes," in a Medium blog post.

"Obviously when they include 'rabid feminist' they are actually choosing that example sentence from possible sentences, so why that one?" Oman-Reagan wrote.

The dictionary responded jokingly to Oman-Reagan's request on Twitter:

Which backfired when other users took note of the debate.

A day later, Oxford Dictionary apologized for the tweet, saying they would review their example sentence for the word rabid.

The dictionary didn't acknowledge other sexist example sentences Oman-Reagan pointed out, such as "a nagging wife" and "she still does all the housework."

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They did, however, post a link on their Twitter account seeking to clarify how example sentences are selected, explaining that choosing them is just as difficult as deciding on the actual definition.

"Needless to say, as in any human enterprise, the selection of example sentences sometimes falls short of the idea."

The post went on to accept that "rabid feminist" was a "poorly chosen example" and a more generic example such as "rabid extremist" would have sufficed.

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