Mer­riam-Webster dic­tionary adds ‘they’ as non-bi­nary pro­noun

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Trends -

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.

Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

Singer and song­writer Sam Smith re­cently an­nounced their de­ci­sion to change their pre­ferred pro­nouns to ‘they’ and ‘them’, in­stead of ‘he’ and ‘him’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.