Urban Dictionary

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Urban Dictionary
Screenshot of Urban Dictionary's front page
Screenshot of Urban Dictionary front page
Web address www.urbandictionary.com
Slogan Define Your World
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Slang dictionary
Registration Required only for editing
Available in English
Owner Aaron Peckham
Created by Aaron Peckham
Launched 1999
Alexa rank positive decrease 593 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Active

Urban Dictionary is a Web-based dictionary that contains nearly eight million definitions as of July 29, 2014.[2] Submissions are regulated by requiring membership of either Facebook or Gmail, and subsequently by volunteer editors and rated by site visitors.


The site was founded in 1999 by Aaron Peckham while he was a freshman computer science major at California Polytechnic State University. One of the first definitions on the site was "the man", defined as "the faces of 'the establishment' put in place to 'bring us down'".[3]

The website was referenced in a 2011 District Court complaint by ATF agents to document the meaning of the vulgarism "murk" as used in a criminal threat. It also consists of names and slang.[4] Although English entries are by far the most common, words from languages that have been incorporated or assimilated into English-speaking societies also have some entries, including from Swahili, Arabic, or the Fula language.[5]


In the context of Urban Dictionary, "definitions" include not only literal definitions, but also descriptions. As such, "to define" a word or phrase on Urban Dictionary does not necessarily entail providing a strict definition; merely a description of some aspect of the word or phrase could suffice for inclusion in the dictionary.

Originally, Urban Dictionary was intended as a dictionary of slang or cultural words or phrases not typically found in standard dictionaries, but it is now used to define any word or phrase.[6] Words or phrases on Urban Dictionary may have multiple definitions, usage examples, and tags.

Visitors to Urban Dictionary may submit definitions without registering, but they must provide a valid e-mail address. Before they are included in the dictionary, all new definitions must be approved by voluntary editors. Editors are not given any guidelines to use when approving or rejecting definitions.

Quality control[edit]

By default, each definition is automatically accepted or rejected based on the number of "Publish" or "Don't Publish" votes it receives by editors, comprising volunteers of the public. There are no criteria that editors have to follow in approving or rejecting definitions; often definitions are not even read during the decision process. A valid e-mail address was previously but is no longer required for editing.[7] Editors are distinguished by their IP address and through the site's usage of HTTP cookies, in order to limit each editor from voting on any particular definition too many times. If a definition is rejected, it is automatically rejected upon re-submission in the future if there are no changes to it. If a definition is published, it is immediately displayed on the site. The definition can then be voted "up" or "down" by site visitors, and may be removed for certain reasons.[8]

Traffic and users[edit]

As of April 2009, an average of 2,000 definitions are submitted every day, and the site receives approximately 15 million unique visitors per month, with 80% of users being younger than 25.[3] As of September 2014, Urban Dictionary's Alexa rating is 534,[9] with a rating of 268 in the United States[9] and 37,752 sites linking in.[9] As of February 2014, the site contains over 7.5 million definitions.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Urbandictionary.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ Home page
  3. ^ a b Heffernan, Virginia (July 5, 2009). "Street Smart: Urban Dictionary". New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Feds Consulted Urban Dictionary In Threat Case". The Smoking Gun. 31 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Pueyo, Isabel (2009). Teaching Academic and Professional English Online. p. 169. 
  6. ^ http://blog.urbandictionary.com/post/40798875051/urban-dictionary-is-so-weird-once-it-was-used
  7. ^ Edit definitions
  8. ^ Definition removal
  9. ^ a b c Urbandictionary.com Site Info

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]