Merriam-Webster: “The Nonbinary Pronoun ‘They’ Has Been Added to the Dictionary”

By Craig Bannister | September 18, 2019 | 11:45am EDT
(Getty Images/Robyn Beck)

“The nonbinary pronoun 'they' has been added to the dictionary,” Merriam-Webster announced Tuesday.

The dictionary touted the news in a post on Twitter linking to its definitions of the word “they,” which now include:

“—used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary (see nonbinary sense c)

The dictionary’s gender-usage definition of “nonbinary” is:

“c : relating to or being a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that is neither entirely male nor entirely female”

Merriam-Webster provides the following example of “they” used to refer to a singular (nonbinary) person:

“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 nonbinary — that is, neither male nor female. They were in their late 20s, working as an event planner, applying to graduate school.”

“What great news!” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) declared in a Twitter post giving a “Shout out to all our non-binary fam in the world, and the activists who’ve worked hard to let us celebrate the full spectrum of humanity.”


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