Some versions of Apple’s MacBook dictionary do not have an entry for the word “gay.” The discovery comes after a teenager found a definition for “gay” in her Apple dictionary that said the word meant “
foolish, stupid or unimpressive.” The definition example added, “making students wait for the light is kind of a gay rule.”
So Becca Gorman, 15, sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking the definition to be removed. Within an hour, an Apple representative called her at her home in Sudbury, Mass., according to the Metro West Daily News:
“They told me it’s so hard to track the dictionaries they’re getting sources from, and that they were also shocked themselves,” Gorman said.
Apple now appears to be scrambling to update its official dictionaries. The issue seems to be that the dictionary pulls its definitions from several different sources. Apple isn’t literally writing definitions for the words within them. And, of course, Cook himself is gay and has lobbied for gay labour rights.
On the MacBook Pro being used by this Business Insider writer, for instance, the word “gay” does not exist in the Apple dictionary, in any form. It asks if you were searching for the word “ay” instead. I’m running the new Mavericks OS X. The Daily Dot, however, found both previous definitions still existing in different Mac product versions. (Software updates tend to take time and updates are rolled out unevenly, of course.)
Another complicating factor: The dictionary in the Applications folder contains the definition, but the dictionary used by searching the Finder does not contain the definition.
Here is the original, homophobic version of the Apple dictionary:
Here is a version in which the prejudiced definition has been removed:
And here is the version in which the word has been removed altogether: