'Stan' Was Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Thanks to Eminem

"Stan" is now an official noun and verb. Now onto mom's spaghetti.

Every so often, a piece of culture gains so much traction that it becomes bigger than its origin. Today, Eminem's song "Stan" joins those ranks. The word "stan" officially entered Merriam-Webster’s dictionary catalog as both a noun and a verb. The term stems from Eminem and Dido's 2000 song of the same name, which tells the story of a deranged fan who goes from super-fanatic status to unhinged stalker by the end of the song. Because the Internet is a deeply unhealthy place where people ask celebrities to punch them in the face or run them over as a sign of devotion, it's no surprise that "stan" has been co-opted by those online as a way to address crazed fans.

To catch you up to speed, if you're a stan (noun), then you're "an extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan." If you stan (verb) something, then you "exhibit fandom to an extreme or excessive degree: [are] an extremely devoted and enthusiastic fan of someone or something," per Merriam-Webster. And then right down there at the bottom of the entry is the etymology of the word, which attributes its origins to Eminem, also known as Marshall Bruce Mathers III (Bruce??). While its inclusion in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a new entry, "stan" actually made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary back in 2017.

"Stan" is ultimately more a pejorative than a term of endearment. When a bro comes out of nowhere to correct you on Jon Snow's lineage? Stan. When a Beyoncé fan flies out of nowhere to chastise you when you mention that Rihanna is the best vocalist in the game? Stan. The word joins other phrases like "swole" and "clapback" as new entries to the dictionary this year.

It's hard to beat having a song so ingrained in pop culture that you land a dictionary entry. Hats off, Slim Shady.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.comMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Justin Kirkland
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture. Prior to Esquire, his work appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, and USA Today. He is from East Tennessee and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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