More LGBTQ terms hop on to dictionary pages

Dictionaries acknowledge the changing social perspectives of the world to include new LGBTQ terms

People of the world generate a diverse collection of new words and new ways to use existing words for countless aspects of our modern life. A word is added to the dictionary because it is a real word used by real people in the real world.

The World’s Largest English Dictionary received an LGBTQ update last year, an effort to recognize the varied communities of LGBTQ people around the world. The newly added words create new ways with which individuals speak to, write about, and organize around the identities of these communities.

The Oxford English Dictionary added 18 new LGBTQ+ related words in 2022 to its collection including new LGBTQ+ related terms like ‘gender-affirming’, ‘demisexual’, and ‘enby’. The dictionary also shared definitions for new words ‘gender expression’ and ‘gender presentation.’ There are more cultural slang terms, like the LGBTQ+ definitions of ‘top’ and ‘bottom.’

LGBTQ was among new words introduced in September 2022

The acronym ‘LGBTQ’ itself was among a new group of words introduced in September 2022. The new entries ‘Brotherboy’ and ‘Sistergirl’ refer to gender presentation and identity in Australian Aboriginal communities, while ‘Muxe’ is a gender identity phrase used by Zapotec communities in southern Mexico. The dictionary now includes additional definitions of ‘gender-critical’ and ‘TERF,’ as well as ‘anti-gay’ and ‘anti-homosexual.’

In its March 2022 update, the Oxford English Dictionary included select entries like ‘contemporary themes’ and relevant ‘big issue’ topics. These words included common dialect in climate change concepts such as ‘decarbonize,’ and those popular among social justice promoters like ‘critical race theory.’

Man, woman definitions updated

The Cambridge Dictionary updated in October 2022, its definitions for ‘woman’ and ‘man’ to include transgender community, thereby expanding what it means to be a woman. The dictionary’s editorial team studied the usage patterns of the word ‘woman’ and concluded that this definition is one that the learners of English should be aware of to support their understanding of how the language is used, said a Cambridge dictionary spokeswoman.

Acknowledging the changing social perspectives of the world, many other dictionaries have also come up to include new words and definitions of new concepts. Online reference site is one among them to make a firm step in this direction.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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