Fans at White Hart Lane Image copyright Reuters

The Oxford English Dictionary has changed its definition of the word Yid to include a “supporter of or player for Tottenham Hotspur”.

The word has frequently been used against Jewish people as an offensive term but over the years has been appropriated by Spurs fans.

Spurs have a strong Jewish following and have been targeted with anti-Semitic abuse by opposing fans.

But Jewish groups have condemned the way the word has been used.

The OED, regarded as the leading dictionary of British English, has also added the word “yiddo” to its latest edition, saying its use is “usually derogatory and offensive” but can also mean a Tottenham supporter or player.

The words come from the Yiddish term for Jew but are thought to have been taken up as an insult during the 20th Century, particularly during the time of Oswald Moseley’s fascist movement in Britain in the 1930s.

Chants of “Yids”, “Yid Army” and “yiddos” are frequently heard in the home stands at White Hart Lane, with some Spurs fans saying they have reclaimed the word.

The OED said it takes a historical approach, meaning it records the usage and development of words rather than prescribing how they are used.

“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,” it said, in a statement.

The OED said the reference to Tottenham reflected the evidence that the club was associated with the Jewish community and that the term was used as a “self-designation” by some fans.

It said the entry for “yiddo” was marked as “offensive and derogatory” and it would ensure the context was made clear in both definitions.

Prominent Jewish football fans including David Baddiel and groups such as the Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors anti-Semitic abuse, have called on Spurs to stop using the words in chants.

The CST said the dictionary bore a “special responsibility to ensure that anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive terms are clearly marked as such”.


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