Why Beyoncé Was Embarrassed When ‘Bootylicious’ Became a Dictionary Word

Beyoncé has written hundreds of songs that have inspired people from all walks of life. While most of her tracks are filled with messages of female empowerment, no song is as uplifting and iconic as “Bootylicious.”

The Queen Bey wrote the track while she was the lead singer of Destiny’s Child. Though the song has a ton of significance and made the term “bootylicious” a cultural phenomenon, Beyoncé actually wasn’t a fan of the word being inducted into Merriam Webster’s dictionary in 2004.

So, why is that? Read on to find out more.

Beyoncé
Beyoncé | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

The word “Bootylicious” has had major significance in pop culture

In 2001, Destiny’s Child released their hit song “Bootylicious,” which was the second single off of the group’s third studio album, Survivor.

The track was written and produced by Beyoncé after she found herself faced with a ton of media scrutiny surrounding her figure.

At the time, the singer was dealing with the loss of her friends and group members, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson, which resulted in her finding comfort in food.

Because of this, the singer’s body starting to change, and soon, the media began criticizing her for becoming even more “curvaceous” than she already was.

As you can expect, the media was relentless toward Beyoncé, but instead of letting their criticisms get the best of her, she decided to use that negativity as inspiration for a song.

After listening to the guitar riff of Stevie Nicks’ track “Edge of Seventeen,” Beyoncé penned lyrics about women with ample backsides and lo and behold, “Bootylicious” was born.

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“I wrote that song because I was getting bigger and bigger and I just wanted to talk about it,” she told Newsweek in a 2002 interview. “I like to eat and that’s a problem in this industry. I’m still probably twice as big as any of the other actresses out there, and that’s a constant grind that I really hate to have to worry about.”

“Bootylicious” went on to become a mega-hit, debuting at No. 66 on the Billboard Hot 100. It eventually claimed the top spots on the Hot 100 Airplay and the Hot 100 Singles Sales charts. The song also did well internationally, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart and selling over 169,000 copies.

Beyoncé’s not “very proud” she coined the popular term

Three years after dominating the music charts, “Bootylicious” achieved yet another milestone that not many artists can say their music has done.

In 2004, the term “bootylicious” was added into Merriam Webster’s dictionary, with it being defined as “voluptuously sexy and attractive.”

Though that was one of Destiny’s Child’s many achievements, Beyoncé actually wasn’t too proud when the term was inducted into America’s most useful and respected dictionary.

In fact, the singer told David Letterman in 2006 that she was actually embarrassed that she coined the term “bootylicious.”

“I’m not very proud of that. It’s in the dictionary – it’s crazy,” Bey shared. “I wrote the song, but I wish there was another word I could have come up with if I was going to have a word in the dictionary.”

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Despite being a little embarrassed by the term, Beyoncé still defined “Bootylicious” as “beautiful, bountiful and bounce-able,” which is the perfect way to describe a word that’s given women of all sizes a major confidence boost throughout the years.