Woke – a new form of awake

Jeremy Corbyn / Photo Wikimedia Commons

“Was this the wokest Glastonbury ever?” So asked The Guardian this morning. “Beyoncé and, rather less convincingly, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry have attempted to, as Vice recently put it, “board the woke train”; “woke” being the current vogue term for political enlightenment.”

Is woke a real word, used like this as an adjective?

As of today, it seems it is. The Oxford English Dictionary is adding woke, along with three other new words (see Glossophilia’s “in the news” item coming later today to find out what they are — all occurring towards and at the end of the alphabet ).

As the OED explains, “In the past decade, that meaning [of woke] has been catapulted into mainstream use with a particular nuance of ‘alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice’, popularised through the lyrics of the 2008 song Master Teacher by Erykah Badu, in which the words ‘I stay woke’ serve as a refrain, and more recently through its association with the Black Lives Matter movement, especially on social media.”

We’re awake, and we’re woke, it seems.

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