BUCHAREST, Romania – A prominent Jewish group urged the Romanian Academy on Monday to change its dictionary definition of an anti-Semitic slur to make it clear it is pejorative.

Maximilian Katz, director of the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that the commonly used Romanian word is offensive, but that is not explained in the official DEX dictionary.

He says the word was “heard by the Jews when they were put on the trains of death,” referring to the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jews in World War II.

“The Romanian Academy have taken a deeply anti-Semitic expression and transformed it into a legitimate word,” he told the AP. The dictionary explains it is used in a “familiar” sense but omits that it is anti-Semitic.

The two-page letter said that the slur “is racist, it shows hatred toward the Jewish race, hatred toward the Jewish religion, it defames Jews on ethnic grounds and incites violence against them.”

It says that usage of the word is illegal in Romania because it falls under a law banning symbols with a fascist, racist or xenophobic character. Breaking the law is punishable by fines and prison

Katz said that the group had seen an increase in anti-Semitism in Romanian online publications. “We are seeing a drastic increase of attempts to blame the economic crisis on the Jews online,” he said.