19 Tweets About Merriam-Webster Adding Singular "They" Pronoun To Its Dictionary That Scream Bye Bye Binary
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.
3. Tell Them
4. Not All Theys
5. Look It Up!
I'll be totally honest: I had to Google the definition of "pedant," which ironically, is something a pedant would do.
6. Popular Usage
7. 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.
8. Better Late Than Never
9. 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.
12. Change The Norm
13. No Excuses
14. 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.
16. ACLU Said So
I love Sam Smith and I love using "they" pronouns.
17. We Did It, They Nodded
18. 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.