The casual use of “stan” famously comes from Eminem and Dido’s hit 2000 song of the same name, in which the rapper weaves a harrowing yarn about an obsessive fan trying to get his attention. Nas helped spread the term, rhyming in his 2001 diss track against Jay-Z “Ether,” “You a fan, a phony, a fake, a pussy, a Stan.” “His 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,” as The Outline noted in 2017. Over the years, “stan” has morphed into a go-to slang term for diehard fans and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2017.
Merriam-Webster have now entered the word into their 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.”
As an example of how the word can be used, Merriam-Webster’s even plucked a line from a piece written by Rolling Stone‘s Alan Sepinwall: “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.”
“Stan” was one of 640 new words added to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary this month. Other new entries include “EGOT” (“the accomplishment of winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award in one’s lifetime”), “on-brand” (“appropriate to, typical of, consistent with, or supportive of a particular brand or public image or identity”) and “swole” (“extremely muscular”)