Why The Definition Of ‘Nude’ Made People Really Angry

When you go to look up the word ‘nude’ in the dictionary, what would you expect to see?

Well, what high school student Luis Torres didn’t expect to see was a definition he not only found discriminatory, but incredibly anger-inducing.

Up until recently, the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defined the word ‘nude’ as ‘having the colour of a white person’s skin.’ Which came as a shock even to us. We mean, WHAT?!

Luis decided something needed to be done, so started a petition to get the wording changed. For good. 

‘I think it’s super-important that a small act of discrimination was shown to be unacceptable’m he told Refinery 29. ‘Language is how we all communicate, and when words are designed and defined to be exclusive, it can be hurtful and harmful.’



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The DoSomething.org survey kicked off on August 14th (National Nudist Day, fittingly), and in just a few weeks, received an incredible number of signatures.

People also took to Twitter to highlight the absurdity of the issue. ”Hey MerriamWebster, looks like even makeup companies know nude is a state of being, not a colour. #nudeAwakening’, one person tweeted.

This has led to the definition now having been changed to: ‘Nude(1): having a color (as pale beige or tan) that matches the wearer’s skin tones (2): giving the appearance of nudity.’

That’s more like it. 

‘I was extremely shocked when I found out Merriam-Webster took down their definition’, Luis said after the event. ‘I think it really shows the power behind DoSomething.org as a change organization. 800 of their members pushed and made a real impact. It was super-amazing.’