Okay, so at first, I was filled with excitement over the word “stan” finally being included in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but then the tweets started and the official definition came out, and I can’t handle the amount of misinformation coming out about the word.
Many of us openly identify as a “stan” of something—whether that be a musician or an actor or even the object of their art, we “stan” it. So, I was shocked to discover that the Merriam-Webster definition makes it seem as if we’re back in the era of Beatle-mania: “an extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan.”
Another definition from the official site goes on to continue to misconstrue the definition of the word campared to how it’s actually used on the internet: “to exhibit fandom to an extreme or excessive degree : to be an extremely devoted and enthusiastic fan of someone or something.”
The thing is, the word isn’t new at all. The word “stan” became a topic of conversation with the Eminem song of the same name, about an overzealous fan who ended up killing himself and his girlfriend for the rapper. The word was then associated with those fans who took their love of something a bit too far.
The problem is that that definition as since changed, so when something like the Merriam-Webster dictionary reverts back to that original definition, it means that the internet is also now mixed between the two uses of the word.
You ever heard Eminem’s song, “Stan”? About an overzealous fan who was so obsessed with him that he ended up driving himself and his GF over a bridge for him?
— Terry Hollimon (T-Holla) (@terryhollimon) April 24, 2019
Here is how I define a “stan”: Someone who will willingly see anything their fave does and wants to talk about them and their work all the time—not the extreme that was the origin of the word, but more than just a casual “fan” of the thing.
It’s exciting though that the word is getting recognition. I just wish it was the correct usage.
(via Merriam-Webster; image: Nicholas Green on Unsplash)
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