Published: Tue, February 18, 2020
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Spurs criticise dictionary over Y-word update

Spurs criticise dictionary over Y-word update

The definitions of the phrases "yid" and "yiddo" - derogatory phrases for Jews - have been up to date within the Oxford English Dictionary to incorporate "a supporter of or participant for Tottenham Hotspur Soccer Membership".

However, since the early 20th century, it has been used in various incarnations - "Yid", "Yid Army", "Yiddos" - to refer to fans of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, a team which has traditionally had a strong Jewish fan base.

Some sections of Spurs fans have tried to reclaim the word in recent times, which is likely to be the reason for the OED adding the new definition, but many inside and outside of the club aren't happy with supporters using the word.

Some Tottenham supporters argue they have "reclaimed" the use of the word from rival fans, who they feel commonly used the term to insult supporters of the north London club, which has traditionally had a Jewish following.

The dictionary's publisher, The Oxford University Press (OUP), explained in a statement: "We reflect, rather than dictate, how language is used which means we include words which may be considered sensitive and derogatory". These are always labelled as such.

"The entry for 'yiddo" is labelled as offensive and derogatory and our reference to Tottenham Hotspur is a reflection of the evidence for the word.

Spurs said: 'As a club we have never accommodated the use of the Y word on any club channels or in club stores and have always been clear our fans have never used the term with any intent to cause offence'.

"The overwhelming majority of fans of the membership, together with those that self-designate as Y-words, should not Jewish", he instructed Sky Information tv, "and due to this fact don't have any proper of 'reclamation'".

Last year, the club carried out a survey focused on use of the Y-word to which 23,000 fans responded, of which 11% were Jewish.

Spurs criticise OED over expanded definition of 'yid'

Yiddish is the Germanic language historically used by Ashkenazi Jews of central and eastern Europe that incorporated Hebrew and borrowed freely from the languages of countries where Jews lived.

Comedian David Baddiel has opposed the change in an interview today.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, a charity working to protect British Jews from anti-Semitism, said: "The OED have introduced several Jewish-related terms, so it is important that those which are anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive are clearly marked as such".

Another Jewish Spurs fan, speaking anonymously, told the Guardian he was surprised at the number of Jewish fans coming out against use of the word.

In 2010, he and his brother Ivor made a short film, "The Y-word", that featured footballers saying use of the word was racist and offensive.

Some 94 per cent acknowledged the word can be considered a racist term against a Jewish person and almost a half of respondents wanted supporters to abandon or use it less in chants.

"The entrance for "Yiddo" is classified as offending and also demeaning and also our referral to Tottenham Hotspur is a representation of the proof for the word".

It disclosed that 33 percent of participants make use of the Y-word "regularly" in a footballing context, while just 12 percent would certainly utilize it beyond this context. About 94% acknowledged the phrase could be thought-about a racist time period in opposition to a Jewish individual and nearly half of the respondents wished supporters to desert or use it much less in chants.


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