A student in Sudbury, Massachusetts, has launched a campaign asking Apple to remove an offensive definition of the word “gay” from its online dictionary service.

The MetroWest Daily News reports that 15-year-old Becca Gorman first found the hurtful definition while researching gay rights for a school project.

She discovered the dictionary listed the third, informal definition as “foolish;stupid,” with an example which read: “making students wait for the light is kind of a gay rule.”

“At first, I was kind of in disbelief,” she said. “It was insulting, and I can’t understand why it would even be there.”

Ms Gorman, whose parents are a lesbian couple, said she is used to hearing the term “gay” used as a pejorative every day, but added she was hurt that a “humongous company” like Apple would give the definition credence.

“I felt like they had to take care of it,” she said.

Ms Gorman decided to send an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking the company to remove the informal definition.

She wrote: “I assume that you are a pro-gay company, and would never intend for any one of your products to be as offensive as this definition was.

“Even with your addition of the word informal, this definition normalizes the terrible derogatory twist that many people put on the word ‘gay.’”

Ms Gorman said, to her surprise, an Apple representative called her only an hour after she sent the email.

“They told me it’s so hard to track the dictionaries they’re getting sources from, and that they were also shocked themselves,” Gorman said.

But while the representative suggested Apple would look into the problem, the dictionary remains the same.

Ms Gorman added: “I feel like we’re going to have to make a bigger deal about it before they actually act on it.”

Earlier this month, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal urging US senators to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Previously, the Apple iTunes store came under fire when it warned app-creators not to use the word “bisexual”, as the app may be banned.