Google briefly lists top definition of ‘Jew’ as to bargain in ‘miserly or petty way’

Tech giant fixes search results, apologizes after giving definition of word rooted in stereotypes ‘associating Jewish people with trading and moneylending’

The Google logo displayed at their offices in Granary Square, in London on Nov. 1, 2018.  (AP/Alastair Grant, File)
The Google logo displayed at their offices in Granary Square, in London on Nov. 1, 2018. (AP/Alastair Grant, File)

Google on Tuesday changed search results for “Jew” after briefly providing an antisemitic trope as the top definition.

Before the edit, the search engine listed the word as a verb that it said means to “bargain with someone in a miserly or petty way.”

An “offensive” label was included in the result and Google wrote that the term’s origins were in 19th century stereotypes “associating Jewish people with trading and moneylending.”

Other “tenses” for the word including “jewed” and “jewing,” according to the search result, which said the definition came from Oxford Languages.

“Deeply troubling that Google artificial intelligence fails to recognize obvious antisemitic hate speech in featured search results for the term ‘Jew,’” the World Jewish Congress said. “We expect corrective action to be taken immediately.”

Google later removed the definition following criticism on social media, including by Jewish groups.

“Our apologies. Google licenses definitions from third-party dictionary experts. We only display offensive definitions by default if they are the main meaning of a term. As this is not the case here, we have blocked this & passed along feedback to the partner for further review,” Google’s SearchLiaison tweeted.

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