Eminem’s ‘Stan’ is now in the Oxford English Dictionary – but what does it mean?

"Dear Slim, I wrote you, but you still ain't callin'"

The vivid storytelling style of Eminem won many admirers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, turning many wide-eyed tweens and teens onto hip-hop at an age when owning an album with the ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker was the ultimate sign of badass-ery. After all, who can forget the first time that they were horrified by the likes of ‘Kill You’ and ‘Kim’, transfixed by ‘Cleaning Out My Closet”s blunt confessional, or delighted by the split personality rap-theatre of ‘Guilty Conscience’?

While the Detroit rapper’s star may have waned somewhat in the past few years – the mesmeric ‘Rap God’ aside, of course – Eminem’s lasting cultural impact is undeniable. So undeniable, in fact, that his song ‘Stan’ – one of the stand-out moments from his still-captivating third album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ – has now become an actual reference point in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Following its release as a single in December 2000, ‘Stan’ was bloody everywhere – it introduced the world to the genius of Dido, for Christ’s sake. Its accompanying video – which starred Eminem, Dido and Devon Sawa as ‘Stan’ – brought the rapper’s vivid (and fictional) tale of an obsessive fan trying in vein to get the attention of his hero to excruciating life, before delivering the painful twist ending we *should* all know by now: “And in the car they found a tape, but they didn’t say who it was to / Come to think about it, his name was… it was you. Damn.


‘Stan’ quickly entered into hip-hop legend, and its longevity as a masterpiece of the genre has endured far beyond receiving the occasional nostalgic play on Spotify – especially given the rather excellent news that the term ‘Stan’ has now entered the Oxford English Dictionary.

Yes, the lexical bigwigs have deemed ‘Stan’ – which has long been used colloquially to describe dedicated fan communities or slightly obsessive fans (although preferably those with less murder-y tendencies than the actual Stan) – to be worthy of a place in its list of common words, offering this definition of the term in its noun form:

“An overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity – ‘he has millions of Stans who are obsessed with him and call him a rap god.

Its usage as a verb, meanwhile, is explained in this manner:

“Be an overzealous or obsessive fan of a particular celebrity – ‘y’all know I Stan for Katy Perry, so I was excited to see the artwork for her upcoming album.‘”


So there you have it, folks – you can now use ‘Stan’ in your dissertation, your tax returns, and even your will. It’s official. Just don’t let your admiration for your favourite artist(s) hit the grisly heights of the original ‘Stan’, m’kay?

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