The Use of Derogatory Words
The use of derogatory words to express our opinions about a circumstance or a person has always been a part of our vocabulary. varying English dictionaries have varying definitions for offensive words. This is due to the fact that they sometimes do not immediately translate to the offensive description that is intended. In order to compare how each dictionary defines the offensive terms, we look up the definitions of three offensive words for this essay in the Merriam-Webster, Oxford, and Cambridge dictionaries.
The Term "Bitch"
The term "bitch" is among the most frequently used offensive terms in today's society. So common is the word that in some regions, it is used by people who are having a normal conversation or even female friends to refer to each other. In addition to this, it is a popular term amongst the black community where men use it to refer to their girlfriends or wives. According to the Cambridge dictionary, bitch is a female dog or an unpleasant woman. The Oxford dictionary takes the same meaning as the latter but further adds that when directed to a man, the word bitch is a derogatory term for a subordinate. For the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is a female dog or some other carnivorous mammal; a lewd woman and a spiteful, overbearing woman. The source further adds that it can be a difficult or unpleasant situation or something.
The Term "Yid"
Another offensive word that is mostly used against the Jewish community is the term, Yid. This is mostly popular in the UK where football fans have been heard chatting songs with the word against their opponents. Yid in the Cambridge dictionary is an abused term for a Jewish person. The oxford describes it to mean a Jew while for the Merriam-Webster; it is a contemptuous term for the Jewish person. The offensive nature of the term can be compared to how black men are called negros or nigga; a term that originated during the slavery era. Douchebag is also another offensive word that is commonly used today. Mostly used to define a man, the oxford dictionary gives it meaning as "unpleasant person." The Cambridge dictionary has the same meaning as Oxford while Merriam-Webster defines the term as a U.S. slang word for someone who is unattractive or offensive.
Origin and Meaning
Most of the offensive words as mentioned above are either directed to a specific gender or a race because of the origin of the term. For instance, all three as described above have been in existence since time immemorial thus have a traditional background as far as language evolution is concerned. This is perhaps one of the reasons as to why their use is becoming more acceptable more so for the term bitch as people are somehow becoming accustomed to them. However, the reality when it comes to their meanings, almost every dictionary will take the same description of the term. Just as highlighted above, the three dictionaries, Oxford, Cambridge, and Merriam-Webster appear to define the three offensive words in the same manner. The only difference is in the additional explanation of the word in terms of the choice of word as applicable as well as the explanation. However, at the end of it all, irrespective of which dictionary one uses to define an offensive word, they are more likely to get the same meaning.