Dictionary chooses gender-neutral ‘they’ as word of 2019

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12/10/2019

The use of “they” to describe someone who does not identify as male or female gained ground on Tuesday, when U.S. dictionary Merriam-Webster picked it as the word of 2019. Merriam-Webster said searches for that use of the word, which was added to its dictionary in September, had increased by more than 300% this year as more and more people identify as nonbinary – neither a man nor a woman. The Oxford English Dictionary and Dictionary.com both published articles online in 2018 saying the singular “they” was grammatically correct and had been used since at least the late 14th century. “More recently, though, they has also been used to refer to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary,” Merriam-Webster said on its website.

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