American Heritage Dictionary Will Revise “Anchor Baby” Definition

Dec 5, 2011
8:00 PM

After being heavily criticized by the Immigration Policy Center and facing a quick social media firestorm, the executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary, which is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company, said today that the AHD's definition for "anchor baby" will be revised in the third printing of the dictionary's fifith edition.

Steven Kleinedler admitted that the current definition was offensive and derogatory, and that a revision "should have been done in the first place."

As reported by USA Today:


In an interview Monday, dictionary Executive Editor Steven Kleinedler said the phrase was one of the 10,000 new words and phrases added to the fifth edition – the first revision of the dictionary in a decade – and that the lack of an offensive disclaimer was an oversight.

Kleinedler said he immediately realized the error when he saw Friday's blog post by Immigration Impact.

"When we saw the post, we looked at (the definition) and said 'They are completely right, we should change it,'" Kleinedler said. "This is a change that needs to be made."

The new definition, which will be included in the online dictionary and the next printing of the print edition, says the phrase is used "as a disparaging term."