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Spurs criticise Oxford English Dictionary on definition of 'Yid'

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

21:58 12 Feb 2020

Tottenham Hotspur have criticised the Oxford English Dictionary over their definition of the word 'Yid' to include a "supporter or player for" Spurs.

The term is traditionally an offensive word for a Jewish person, but parts of the club's fanbase have attempted to reclaim the word to describe their fans and players - supporters often singing 'Yid Army' at matches.

However, the club itself has looked to distance themselves from such characterisations of the fanbase and often-difficult use of a word with anti-Semitic baggage.

The club told The Guardian that:

"As a club we have never accommodated the use of the Y-word on any club channels or in club stores and have always been clear that our fans (both Jewish and gentile) have never used the term with any intent to cause offence.

We find the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word misleading given it fails to distinguish context, and welcome their clarification.”

The OED currently have the phrase 'yiddo' as: "[a] Jew. Also in extended use: a supporter of or player for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club."

Comedian David Baddiel, himself Jewish, has been a vocal critic of the use of the word in relation to Tottenham, regardless of context.

In 2013, Baddiel wrote in The Guardian:

"Yid is a race-hate word. It was daubed across the East End by Oswald Moseley's Blackshirts, along with the word Out. The only possible reason why a culture that has tried to dismiss other race-hate words to the margins of language would consider it acceptable is if the racism of which it is a part is somehow less offensive, somehow less significant, than other racisms."

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