‘Cougar’ Officially Has A New Definition In The Latest Edition Of The OED

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If you happen to pick up a new edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary for your kids, there are quite a few new words that made it in this year and most of the are of the cyber/internet variety. New terms like “woot,” “sexting,” “retweet,” and “cyberbullying” were added as well as additional meanings for words like “friend,” which now includes “a contact on a social networking website.” But “cougar” has also seen some additional meanings as the term is no longer limited to “large American feline quadrupeds.”

According to The Atlantic, “cougar” now has an accompanying definition that reads “older women seeking a sexual relationship with younger men.” Try explaining that to your kid as they go about learning more advanced terms for animals within certain species, especially if your partner is male and considerably younger than you are. Who wants their little one looking up at them one day and asking, “Mommy, are you a cougar?” with the dictionary in their hands.

The term obviously doesn’t need to land in the OED for children to pick up the meaning, but it is troublesome that such a cultural term for women has been officiated and yet we still don’t have one for men. Men who choose to date much younger women are….what, men? Yet women who makes the same choices are subject to a new term that’s not even just relegated to slang — it’s been added to the dictionary. Such disparity and cultural scrutiny, anchored only in gender, are perhaps much more alarming for children to happen upon when understanding this new definition.