News

Culture

Merriam-Webster Adds Non-Binary Definition of ‘They’ to Dictionary

A bathroom sign in Durham, N.C., in 2016. (Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Merriam-Webster has updated its dictionary with an additional definition of “they” reflecting the word’s increased usage as a pronoun that refers to those who conceive of themselves as neither male nor female, the company announced Monday on Twitter.

The word “they” now has four definitions on the Merriam-Webster website, including the latest addition, which describes “they” as “used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.”

To use the word in a sentence, Merriam-Webster gives the following example: “They had adopted their gender-neutral name a few years ago, when they began to consciously identify as nonbinary — that is, neither male nor female.”

The definition change comes as Oxford University Press editors consider updating the definition of “woman” across various publications in response to a change.org petition, according to the Bookseller.

The petition calls on OUP to remove example sentences with the word “woman” that contain offensive language or sexist stereotypes. For example, on one page of  an OUP-affiliated site, the word “bitch” is described as an offensive synonym for a woman.

Other examples taken from OUP publications and cited by the petition include “male fisherfolk who take their catch home for the little woman to gut,” and “I told you to be home when I get home, little woman.”

The authors also call on OUP to “include examples representative of minorities, for example, a transgender woman, a lesbian woman, etc.”

An OUP spokesperson commented to the Bookseller, “it’s worth reiterating that our dictionaries reflect rather than dictate how language is used which means that we include terms that are often considered pejorative or have negative historical associations.”

The petition currently has over 29,000 signatures.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Most Popular

Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More
Culture

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Closing out the week: The Harper’s letter calling for freedom of expression demonstrates that no one is ever “woke” enough, and that any institution that tries to make peace with the perpetually aggrieved eventually becomes dysfunctional; the value of Hamilton as a litmus test of the limits of cancel ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More

Mel Gibson’s Beastmode

Late-period Mel Gibson is probably the best Mel Gibson; in film after film after film he plays ornery old bastards with such conviction that each successive outing feels like a personal trip to the confessional. He doesn’t need the money anymore, and most of these roles are in indie movies that pay very little ... Read More
Culture

In Defense of Terry Crews

There are many worthy nominees for the craziest moment in the current cultural turmoil, but the controversy over tweets by actor Terry Crews deserves to be high on the list. In one of his offending tweets, Crews said on July 4th: https://twitter.com/terrycrews/status/1279493774679261185?s=21 It wasn’t ... Read More
Culture

In Defense of Terry Crews

There are many worthy nominees for the craziest moment in the current cultural turmoil, but the controversy over tweets by actor Terry Crews deserves to be high on the list. In one of his offending tweets, Crews said on July 4th: https://twitter.com/terrycrews/status/1279493774679261185?s=21 It wasn’t ... Read More
Culture

Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More
Culture

Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn’t gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion. His reward for adhering to what once would have been a commonsensical, if not banal, view of the value of the free exchange of ideas ... Read More