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Beyonce’s Name Will Be Added to French Le Petit Larousse Dictionary

Beyonces Name to be Added to French Larousse Dictionary American singer of R&B and pop
Beyonce Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Beyoncé: proper noun. American singer of R&B and pop.

That entry will soon be added to the French Le Petit Larousse dictionary along with 39 other names, according to U.K. newspaper The Times.

Each year, a jury compiles a list of around 150 words and names to add to the dictionary. Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan, NBA superstar LeBron James and actress Cate Blanchett will also be added.

Carine Girac-Marinier, head of dictionaries and encyclopedias at Larousse, explained to French news magazine Le Point that the people added matched the “values of the Petit Larousse — excellence and promotion of French culture.” Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles, is of Louisiana creole heritage.

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Girac-Marinier added that many of the new words “reflect concerns, developments or strong movements this year.”

This isn’t the first time Beyoncé, 42, has made her mark on language. The term “bootylicious” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004 after Beyoncé cowrote the Destiny’s Child hit of the same name. The OED defined bootylicious as “(of a woman) sexually attractive.”

“I wrote the song, but I wish there was another word I could have come up with if I was going to have a word in the dictionary,” Beyoncé told TV Hits magazine at the time.

2024 is a fitting year to add Beyoncé to the dictionary. In February, she became the first Black woman to ever top the Top Country Albums Chart with her album Cowboy Carter. It also made her the first Black artist ever to debut each of her first eight albums at No. 1. Each of the 23 eligible songs on Cowboy Carter made the Billboard Hot 100.

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Beyoncé may be etched in the dictionary as written, but her name was almost not spelled that way. It was originally “Beyincé,” her maternal grandparents’ surname, but Knowles’ maiden name was misspelled as Beyoncé on her birth certificate. The hospital refused to correct the error, and decades later, the misspelling is now — in the eyes of Le Petit Larousse — correct.

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Knowles recalled in a 2020 episode of the “In My Heart With Heather Thomson” podcast asking her mother why she didn’t ask the hospital to correct the spelling error.

“She said, ‘I did one time,’” Knowles said. “‘The first time, and I was told be happy that you’re getting a birth certificate because, at one time, Black people didn’t get birth certificates.’”

Other new additions to the dictionary include “fast fashion,” adopted from English, and “platisme,” the French term for flat earth theory.

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