Merriam-Webster dictionary adds ‘they’ as non-binary pronoun
American dictionary Merriam-Webster has added the non-binary pronoun “they” to its vocabulary. Merriam-Webster, founded in1831, has added more than 530 new entries to the dictionary in its latest update.
Among the new words and meanings are words about race and identity, one of which is the non-binary pronoun “they”.
Merriam-Webster has expanded the definition of “they” to reflect the fact that it can be “used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is non-binary”.
Sam Smith recently announced their decision to change their preferred pronouns to “they” and “them”, instead of “he” and “him”.
Merriam-Webster uses the word in a sentence as an example: “I knew certain things about ... the person I was interviewing.... They had adopted their gender-neutral name a few years ago, when they began to consciously identify as non-binary — that is, neither male nor female. They were in their late 20s, working as an event planner, applying to graduate school”.
Merriam-Webster also notes it has evidence in its files of the non-binary “they” dating back to 1950, and that it's likely there are earlier uses of the nonbinary pronoun out there.
Another new entry is an expanded definition of the word “inclusive”, which is now also defined in the dictionary as “allowing and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability)”.
“Colourism” is also a new entry described as the “prejudice and discrimination especially within a racial or ethnic group favouring people with lighter skin over those with darker skin”.
Alongside the 533 new words and meanings, Merriam-Webster added more than 4,000 revisions to definitions, etymologies, pronunciations and dates of first known use to entries. A variety of new abbreviations and portmanteaus have been added to the dictionary, including “vacay”, “sesh” and “inspo”.
“Words can come and go in alanguage, but those that show staying power and increasing use need to be recorded...,” reads a Merriam-Webster statement.
Singer and songwriter Sam Smith recently announced their decision to change their preferred pronouns to ‘they’ and ‘them’, instead of ‘he’ and ‘him’