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‘Yiddo’ added to Oxford English Dictionary to describe Tottenham fans | UK News

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The Oxford English Dictionary has added the term “yiddo” as a new entry to describe supporters and players for Tottenham Hotspur.

Fans of the Premier League club have long used the word, often a derogatory term for Jewish people, to describe themselves.

Many Tottenham supporters argue they have “reclaimed” the use of the word from rival fans, who commonly used the term to insult supporters of the north London club, which has traditionally had a large Jewish following.

However, in recent years, efforts have been made to try to convince Tottenham fans to cease using the term, amid claims it is continuing to fuel antisemitism within the game.

In its definition of the word “yiddo”, the OED states: “A Jew. Also in extended use: a supporter of or player for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.”

In its entry for “Yid” the OED has also added the further description: “British. In extended use: a supporter of or player for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.”

Tottenham Hotspur fans
Image:
One-third of Spurs fans use the word regularly at matches, a survey revealed

Jewish comedian David Baddiel, a Chelsea fan, then Tottenham captain Ledley King and the club’s former striker Gary Lineker appeared in a 2011 campaign video aimed at eradicating the use of the term “yid” or “yiddo” from football grounds.

In 2013, the Football Association even warned fans that using the word could result in criminal charges.

Jewish groups have branded the word “antisemitic”, whatever the context it is used in.

Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said last year: “The Y-word is a derogatory expression for a Jewish person.

“It is a word that has been adopted by Tottenham fans. It is wrong for them to say that they are ‘reclaiming’ it.”

However, there has been no discernible decrease in the use of the term among Tottenham fans during matches in recent seasons.

Indeed, one chant used by Tottenham supporters – frequently employing the Y-word – includes the line: “They tried to stop us and look what it did.”

Last year, Tottenham launched a consultation with fans on use of the word.

From 23,000 responses it was revealed one-third (33%) would use the Y-word “regularly” in a footballing context.

More than nine in 10 (94%) acknowledged the term could be considered a racist term against a Jewish person, with only 12% saying they would use it outside of a footballing context.

Almost half of all respondents said they would prefer to see supporters choose to chant the Y-word less or stop using it altogether.

Following the findings, the club said: “There is a strong history and reason as to why the Y-word was initially adopted by Spurs fans in the 1970s and 1980s.

“However the age of those that use it most often now does not correlate with those that were victims of antisemitic abuse in the first place.

“In addition, the responses indicate that few believe the use of the Y-word is effective in deflecting antisemitic abuse.

“Sentiment around this term appears to be changing among the fanbase – there is a recognition of the offence the Y-word can cause and that a footballing context alone does not justify its continued use.”

Tottenham have promised to establish a series of focus groups for fans to exchange opinions on the term.

A spokeswoman for the OED said: “As a historical dictionary, the OED records the usage and development of words in the English language.

“We reflect, rather than dictate, how language is used which means we include words which may be considered sensitive and derogatory. These are always labelled as such.

“The entry for ‘yiddo’ is labelled as offensive and derogatory and our reference to Tottenham Hotspur is a reflection of the evidence for the word.

“As we state at the closely related word ‘yid’, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is traditionally associated with the Jewish community in north and east London, and the term is sometimes used as a self-designation by some Tottenham fans.

“We will ensure the context for this connection is very clear in both definitions.”

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