Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.
This week, it's a resource for people who want to know more about the English language in all its contemporary messiness - a great place to learn about the words you won't find in most regular dictionaries.
"Urban Dictionary is a slang dictionary with definitions written by people who come to visit the site. So all of its content is written by normal people like you and me," says Aaron Peckham. He is the founder of UrbanDictionary.com, a site he created as a university student.
Anyone can submit a new word, or a new definition for a word already in the dictionary. More than three million definitions have been submitted in the decade or so that Urban Dictionary has been on line. Peckham and his team of editors update the site daily, adding about 1,000 new entries every day.
The result is an English lexicon that is fun, engaging and up-to-date, if not exactly scholarly. It is, we should warn you, full of words you can't say on the radio. But of course, those might just be the words you need to know about.
"People have written in to me to tell me that they use Urban Dictionary to figure out what their kids are talking about, what their students are talking about, to figure out what people are talking about at the MTV music awards, what's going on in lyrics and stuff. Even what politicians say sometimes can be decoded with Urban Dictionary.com."
it's written by ordinary, mostly young users, not stuffy old editors of
mainstream lexicons, UrbanDictionary.com is a window on not just the English
language but on contemporary culture.
"I hope Urban Dictionary is a way to figure out what's going on in American culture," Peckham says.
"Some people have told me that after arriving in the United States that Urban Dictionary's been a really valuable resource to figure out what people are really saying because there's so much meaning behind words besides what's in the normal dictionary definition. And Urban Dictionary can help to decode that."
... Especially since every definition includes an example of contemporary usage at UrbanDictionary.com, or get the link to this and more than 200 other Websites of the Week from our site, voanews.com.