Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl ‘wardrobe malfunction’ enters dictionary

Jackson's infamous 'accident' is officially recognised

The phrase ‘wardrobe malfunction’, coined after Janet Jackson’s nipple was accidentally bared during her 2004 Super Bowl half-time performance, has been entered into the latest edition of the Chambers English Dictionary.

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake were performing together during the infamous 2004 show, after which the phrase became synonymous with the nipple-baring occasion.

The phrase ‘wardrobe malfunction’ was deemed relevant enough to be included because it helps to “paint a vivid picture of current interests and concerns,” according to Chambers Editor Mary O’Neill.


Over 500,000 people complained to US television broadcaster CBS after seeing Timberlake rip open Jackson‘s clothing to reveal her right breast during a televised half-time performance of his song ‘Rock Your Body’.

Since then the phrase has become ubiquitous, with the Global Language Monitor naming it ‘Hollywood’s Top Word or Phrase for Impact on the English language’ in 2004.