Just a couple years after the Associated Press updated its stylebook, encouraging journalists to “avoid references to being born a boy or girl” when writing about a transgender person, the Merriam-Webster dictionary is legitimizing phrases added to the American lexicon in recent years by those in the LGBTQ community.
In April, the company announced it had added “new words from science and medicine,” referring to the transgender terminology for which it now offers definitions.
Among the phrases added were:
- “Top surgery,” which is defined as “a type of gender confirmation surgery in which a person’s breasts are removed or augmented to match their gender identity.”
- “Bottom surgery,” which is defined as “a type of gender confirmation surgery in which a person’s genitalia are altered to match their gender identity.”
- “Gender nonconforming,” which is defined as “exhibiting behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits that do not correspond with the traits typically associated with one’s sex.”
In a post about the changes, which included more than 600 words, Merriam-Webster described the process of revising the dictionary as “constant” and as something that “mirrors the culture’s need to make sense of the world with words.”
“There are always new things to be named and new uses for existing words to be explained,” it added.
LGBTQ groups were quick to celebrate the change:
Merriam-Webster also added the politically motived definition of “snowflake” to its list of definitions for the word. Among other things, the word is now defined as “someone regarded or treated as unique or special” or “someone who is overly sensitive.”
The dictionary also added the phrase “garbage time,” which refers to the final moments of a sports game when one team’s lead over the other has been deemed “insurmountable.”