Geisha – The very definition is out of date and wrong…


Website / Source: please go here for the full article and read. I find it interesting, that only in 2010 that we (as a whole) are starting to take a revised and more educated view on this topic.

“To paraphrase, he said that in today’s world a Eurocentric view of history is out of place. A measure of that is an exhibit they’ve worked on in which a British viewpoint is the exception rather than the rule.

I think the word geisha also illustrates this changing approach to the study of history; in this case word history.

The Oxford English Dictionary is currently in the middle of revising the dictionary for the Third Edition. Many entries available at the OED online have been brought up to date, but many others have not. Geisha is one that has not.

Consequently the entry for geisha has as its most recent example citation a quoted dated 1947.

This date is relevant since geisha is a Japanese word and 1947 is only two years after the atomic bombing of Japan and its World War II surrender.

One might not be surprised to find that a dictionary definition of this vintage omits a Japanese viewpoint. Such is indeed the case with the OED Second Edition.

The etymology of geisha there is said simply to be “Japanese” and the definition reads “A Japanese girl whose profession is to entertain men by dancing and singing; loosely, a Japanese prostitute.”


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