Merriam-Webster has updated its entry on “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” a term many Asian Americans saw as antiquated and even racist.
The phrase was previously defined as a legitimate illness brought on by food seasoned with monosodium glutamate but “especially Chinese food.” Merriam-Webster.com said symptoms include numbness of the neck, arms and back as well as headaches and dizziness.
Now, the definition has a detailed disclaimer noting the term as “dated” and “offensive.” It also states research conducted since the so-called syndrome was reported in the 1960s has not found any link between MSG and those symptoms.
It also contains a link to another entry — the more clinical term, “MSG symptom complex.”
Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster, confirmed the changes.
“This process is always ongoing, and includes the gathering of evidence and drafting of revisions to be