With the help of the Black Lives Matter movement, the word woke has come to mean, at least colloquially, how aware and abreast one is when it comes to inequalities, injustices and advancements in minority communities. With the popularity of the word due to the current racial climate, Oxford English Dictionary decided to add it to its pages during its quarterly update.
The OED defines the word as an adjective, which means “well-informed, up-to-date. Now chiefly: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice; frequently in stay woke.”
According to Time.com before editors add any word, they research to see the earliest use of the word. Oxford’s U.S. Dictionaries Head Katherine Martin says in 1920’s Harlem an event being held from 5pm to 5am was called the “Stay Woke Ball” meaning woke was used as a past tense of the word awake.
Along with woke, Oxford also added “come to Jesus.” The phrase often used to cool heads before tempers flare, the adjective is defined as “a meeting, discussion, encounter, etc.: that results or is intended to result in a significant shift in the current way of thinking about or doing something.”
In addition to “come to Jesus” OED also added a new definition for the existing word “thing,” as in “is this really a thing?” Researching its earliest use in that particular phrasing, OED editors realized it was originally used in Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed drama The West Wing.
To peep the full list of the new Oxford English Dictionary entries click here.