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Merriam-Webster revises 'Chinese restaurant syndrome' entry

Merriam-Webster has updated its dictionary entry on “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” a term many Asian Americans saw as antiquated and even racist.
Sweet and sour pork served at a Chinese restaurant in New York City. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Merriam-Webster has updated its dictionary entry on “Chinese restaurant syndrome,” a term many Asian Americans saw as antiquated and even racist.

The phrase was defined as a legitimate illness brought on by food seasoned with monosodium glutamate but “especially Chinese food.”

Merriam-Webster.com said the 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 contains a link to another entry - the more clinical term, “MSG symptom complex.”

An editor with Merriam-Webster confirmed the changes.