Oxford Dictionaries Change Definitions of “Man,” “Woman”

"After a petition gained more than 34,000 signatures, Oxford University Press ... either removed or labelled certain synonyms as 'offensive, derogatory, or dated.' Some of those terms are indeed offensive and vulgar, but they didn’t stop there. They then went on to add that a woman 'can be a person’s wife, girlfriend, or female lover, not only a man’s.' Similarly, the definition of man has been updated from 'a woman’s' to 'a person's husband, boyfriend, or male lover.'" - AiG

594 reads

There are 2 Comments

TylerR's picture


Lexicons catalogue how word usage changes. The words "man" and "woman" have indeed changed in current English usage. Psychological identity now trumps biological identity. It is perfectly responsible for a lexicon to update its word usage. Anyone who has looked at the OED is aware that it explains how word usage changes over time.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Well, in the possessive form, we've always used the word "man" or "woman" to indicate another person's romantic interest.  It strikes me that as much as I reject, morally speaking, any sexual relationship outside of heterosexual monogamous marriage, I simultaneously can understand what is meant, for example, when a homosexual refers to "his man" or a lesbian refers to "her woman"--or the heterosexual equivalents.  The moral equation is about the same, after all.

So I'm not terribly worried about this, since really, this might have been done back when Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for what he did with "his man".

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.