“Truly yours, your biggest fan, this is Stan.”
The use of the slang word “stan” derives from hip-hop heavyweight Eminem‘s hit 2000 song of the same name, which features vocalist Dido. The track off of Em’s beloved The Marshall Mathers LP navigates a storyline of an obsessive fan attempting to get the rapper’s attention. The album sold more than 1.78 million copies in the U.S. in its first week alone, becoming the fastest-selling studio album by any solo artist in American music history at that time.
Eminem – “Stan” [Music Video]
The following year, Nas released a cut-throat diss track directed at fellow Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z, “Ether”, where he exclaims, “You a fan, a phony, a fake, a pussy, a Stan.” In 2017, The Outline noted, “His (Nas) is the first recorded usage of ‘stan’ as a label (and a pejorative one) for an obsessive fan rather than the name of the fan himself.” Since then, the term has entered the cultural vernacular and has been widely used as a slang term.
Now, Merriam-Webster has officially added the Eminem-inspired “stan” to their English dictionary as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, “stan” is defined as “an extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan,” while as a verb, it’s defined as “to exhibit fandom to an extreme excessive degree.”
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition gives multiple examples of the word’s usage in a sentence. The dictionary’s example of the noun usage of “stan” reads, “On the drama side, Game of Thrones returns after its own year off, but for an abbreviated season that even the most die-hard Westeros stans seemed lukewarm about,” and as a verb, “I stanned pretty hard for Christina [Aguilera] as a teen; I remember begging my mom for tickets to the Justified/Stripped tour, and even from our nosebleed seats, Christina’s voice was stunning.”
It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time that “stan” has landed attention in the language spotlight. The Oxford English Dictionary added the word in 2017, and it holds a strong spot in the slang-focused Urban Dictionary.