Bye Bye Binary — Merriam-Webster Adds Singular "They" Pronoun To Its Dictionary

As of Sept. 17, 2019, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "they" as, "Used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is non-binary." Allow me to proudly reiterate: The dictionary now defines non-binary babes by using the singular "they" pronoun. Seeing my gender pronoun on spellcheck (that's queer for "my name in lights") has been a lifelong dream of mine. And now, these tweets about Merriam-Webster adding singular "they" pronoun to its dictionary are like the genderless icing on the delicious, academically-validating cake.

In a statement released, Merriam-Webster announced their expansion of the existing definition of the pronoun "they" to specifically include non-binary people, explaining, "It's an expansion of a use that is sometimes called the 'singular they' (and one that has a long history in English)."

"If a word is frequently used and likely to be encountered, then it goes in,” Peter Sokolowski, an editor-at-large at Merriam-Webster, told TIME. “Because its [singular they's] use as a pronoun has become so frequent and so public, it’s simply time for it to go into the dictionary.

Though I like to think that non-binary babes are timeless, these tweets about the now dictionary-official singular demonstrate that their time is now.

Snap Back

Gender Inclusivity for Dummies is required reading.

Dictionary Offish

My gender identity (unlike my romantic status) is now #certifiedoffish.

Tell Them

IMHNBO (in my humble non-binary opinion), if Marie Antoinette didn't hate the working class, this could have been a great, "Let them eat cake!" moment for us all.

Not All Theys

Serious note: while many non-binary angels do use "they/them" pronouns, it's not synonymous with being non-binary. You could be non-binary and use pronouns that aren't "they/them." You could also use "they/them" pronouns and identify as something other than non-binary.

Look It Up!

I'll be totally honest: I had to Google the definition of "pedant," which ironically, is something a pedant would do.

Popular Usage

Using the singular "they" really does get easier with time and practice. While the dictionary is a tool for words that get popular usage, reminding yourself and your friends to properly gender non-binary folks should be popular too. Making room for people to grow and learn is important.

A Drop In The Bucket

While representation is important, it's hardly the only way to make social progress. In addition to using the correct pronouns for your non-binary friends and family, there are tons of ways to show up for non-binary people, such as learning about the history of trans women of color behind all modern queer liberation movements, volunteering at or donating to queer and trans organizations, reading work by trans writers, listening to amazing music from trans artists, and thinking about your part in dismantling systems of oppression.

Better Late Than Never

Once you've read all about the history of trans women of color, perhaps you'd like to take a gander at the history of the singular "they." I know I would.

Hit 'Em With The Dictionary

It seems relevant to mention that Merriam-Webster also added "dad joke" to the dictionary, along with the singular "they" and, like, 530 other words.

Specifically Non-Binary

Specifically, Non-Binary is the working title of my memoir.


We're generally and grammatically correct now.

Change The Norm

Education can't happen without accessibility. If you hear someone misgendering a friend or loved one, try to gently remind them, so the responsibility doesn't fall on your non-binary friend or loved one.

No Excuses

Using the right pronouns can be an IRL way to show that you are dedicated to making the people around you feel seen, loved, and protected.

Hold The Applause

Honestly, I was too distracted by "Bechdel Test" to think of a joke. This is, like, a big day for queer people.


Motions for a version of OutKast's "Hey, Ya!" But changed to, "They, Ya!"

ACLU Said So

I love Sam Smith and I love using "they" pronouns.

We Did It, They Nodded

I think this is a super important thing to remember — you can be non-binary and not use "they" pronouns or not publicly use "they" pronouns, and you and your identity are still valid.

Micheal Scott Could Never

I need more non-binary The Office fans in my life. My email is in my staff bio. Thanks.

Though the dictionary definition of "they" doesn't define how you personally experience non-binary identity, seeing the singular "they" in print (read: on my very dirty computer) is pretty flipping cool. While there's always more work to be done to ensure the comfort and safety of all marginalized communities, Merriam-Webster defining the singular "they" feels pretty universally amazing.