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Merriam-Webster dictionary adds three new transgender words

April 25, 2019
Transgender woman allegedly sexually assaulted in men’s prison

Trans flag (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty)

Three new words related to trans issues are being added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

The dictionary’s website said that 640 words are being added this month, including “gender nonconforming,” “top surgery” and “bottom surgery.”

Gender nonconforming is defined as “exhibiting behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits that do not correspond with the traits typically associated with one’s sex: having a gender expression that does not conform to gender norms.”

The entry says that the first known use of the term was in 1991 and quotes a 2015 Boston Globe article to show the word in context.

The three new trans words in the dictionary

  • Gender nonconforming: exhibiting behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits that do not correspond with the traits typically associated with one’s sex.
  • Top surgery: a type of gender confirmation surgery in which a person’s breasts are removed or augmented to match their gender identity.
  • Bottom surgery: a type of gender confirmation surgery in which a person’s genitalia are altered to match their gender identity.

The article explains top surgery is defined as “a type of gender confirmation surgery in which a person’s breasts are removed or augmented to match their gender identity” and bottom surgery is “a type of gender confirmation surgery in which a person’s genitalia are altered to match their gender identity.”

According to Merriam-Webster, the first known use of “top surgery,” was in 1992, while “bottom surgery” first appeared in 1994.

The dictionary, which is for American-English, updates with a new word if editors find evidence of “frequent use, widespread use, and meaningful use” of the word.

Janelle Monáe attends Universal Pictures And DreamWorks Pictures' premiere of "Welcome To Marwen" at ArcLight Hollywood on December 10, 2018
Janelle Monáe was cited as the main reason why pansexual was such a popular word this year (Emma McIntyre/Getty)

Merriam-Webster frequently highlights words involving the LGBT+ community.

In 2018 the word pansexual made it onto Merriam-Webster’s list of words of the year.

The US dictionary company explained that the sexual orientation‘s rise to prominence, which sees it ranked third after “Justice” and “Nationalism”—both of which relate heavily to Donald Trump—is largely down to performer Janelle Monáe.

 

 

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