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Definition of racial slur a slur? NAACP wants revision

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is backing calls for Merriam-Webster to revise its dictionary definition of the word "nigger."

The Merriam-Webster dictionary's 9th and 10th editions defines the word as "a black person . . . usually taken to be offensive."NAACP President Kweisi Mfume said that definition "doesn't say, `Once used to describe a black person, a slur.' It says, `A black person.' "

"The NAACP finds it objectionable that the Merriam-Webster would use `black people' as a definition for a racist term," he said.

The Baltimore-based NAACP said it would lead a boycott against the publisher if the word's definition is not revised, The (Baltimore) Sun reported.

The publishing company said that it was "reviewing our treatment of this word to see if there are better ways to present this information. We have tried to make it clear that the use of this word as a racial slur is abhorrent to us, but it is nonetheless part of the language, and as such, it is our duty as dictionary makers to report on it," it said.