#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 9°C Monday 27 September 2021
Advertisement

Non-binary pronoun 'they' named word of the year by Merriam-Webster dictionary

More and more people are exercising their right to choose the pronoun by which they are identified.

Singer Sam Smith
Singer Sam Smith
Image: Richard Shotwell/PA Images

THE PRONOUN “THEY” – used by non-binary people who identify as neither male nor female – has been named word of the year by US dictionary Merriam-Webster.

In the English language, more and more people are exercising their right to choose the pronoun by which they are identified, regardless of their sex at birth – such as “they” instead of “she” or “he.”

Two months ago, the dictionary added the word “they” as a non-binary pronoun that can refer to just one person.

“There’s no doubt that its use is established in the English language, which is why it was added to the Merriam-Webster.com dictionary this past September,” the website said, adding that searches for “they” jumped 313% in a year.

Nonbinary people are enjoying increased representation on television and in pop culture. Among them is British artist Sam Smith, who recently revealed a preference for “they/them” pronouns “after a lifetime of being at war with my gender.”

Tech giant Apple has added “neutral” emojis that don’t distinguish between gender to the latest version of its operating system.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Runners-up for word of the year included “quid pro quo,” “impeach” and “crawdad,” the latter a word in the title of Delia Evans best-selling novel, “Where the Crawdads Sing.”

- © AFP 2019

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (92)