It’s beyond official. You can now throw shade without trying to fight your inner petty urging you to throw more shade at your pretentious friends who act like they don’t know what shade is — that was just a really long way of saying “Go tell those heifers to look it up in the dictionary.”
You can do that now because “shade” is the latest entry in the Merriam-Webster, the self-proclaimed “most trustworthy dictionary of American English.”
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) February 7, 2017
Here’s how America’s dictionary told us what we already know:
Shade is a subtle, sneering expression of contempt for or disgust with someone — sometimes verbal, and sometimes not.
“Shade,” before added to the dictionary, was on Merriam-Webster’s “Words We’re Watching” list. Its experts detail how the first document of the word “shade” is in the epic 1990 documentary “Paris is Burning.” If you haven’t watched the film, which chronicles the lives of Manhattan’s LGBTQ community in the 1980s, you have totally missed out on the blessing that is Queen Dorian Carey (and an intense look into houses, passing, drag queens, voguing, etc. [Just watch it]).
Shade has its origins in reading, according to Carey. In the film, she drops a gem that highlights the premise of successful shade: a quiet consensus.
“Shade is I don’t tell you you’re ugly, but I don’t have to tell you because you know you’re ugly. That’s shade,” she says with a wry grin.
Carry on, shade queens. Carry on!