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Cambridge Dictionary changes definition for 'man' and woman' to include trans people
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Cambridge Dictionary changes definition for 'man' and woman' to include trans people

A spokesperson said the dictionary is regularly updated to reflect changes in how the English language is used

The Cambridge Dictionary has updated its definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to include transgender people.

The definition for woman now includes ‘an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth’ alongside the first definition - ‘an adult female human being’.

It also gives two examples of how it could be used correctly in a sentence, including ‘Mary is a woman who was assigned male at birth’.

Similarly, the entry for male now includes the definition ‘an adult who lives and identifies as male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth’ - with an example sentence that reads, ‘Mark is a trans man’.

The Cambridge Dictionary

As with ‘woman’, the first definition for ‘man’ - ‘an adult human male’ - remains unchanged.

Dr Jane Hamlin, president of the Beaumont Society charity, which supports trans and non-binary people, welcomed the inclusion of the new definition.

She told The Telegraph: “This is such good news. There has been so much misinformation and rubbish written about definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ lately, but these definitions are clear, concise and correct. Congratulations to the Cambridge Dictionary team!”

A spokesperson for the Cambridge Dictionary said: “Our editors made this addition to the entry for woman in October.

“They carefully studied usage patterns of the word woman and concluded that this definition is one that learners of English should be aware of to support their understanding of how the language is used.

“The first definition at the entry for woman remains unchanged and continues to be ‘an adult female human being’.

“Our dictionaries are written for learners of English and are designed to help users understand English as it is currently used. They are compiled by analysing a large corpus of English texts (over two billion words in total) taken from all areas of writing and publishing, which allows us to see exactly how language is used.

“We regularly update our dictionary to reflect changes in how English is used, based on analysis of data from this corpus.”

The news comes after announced ‘woman’ as its 2022 Word of the Year.

Thomas Richards / Alamy Stock Photo

Each year, the site chooses a word based on its search date, language trends and cultural themes.

John Kelly, Senior Director of Editorial at said: “This year, the very matter of the definition of the word 'woman' was at the center of so many consequential moments, discussions, and decisions in our society,

“Our selection of 'woman' as the Word of the Year for 2022 - and how the word is defined, who is included in that definition, who the word applies and belongs to - highlights how important the work of a dictionary is, and how dictionaries can impact people's lives.”

Topics: UK News