Merriam-Webster Just Added "They" to the Dictionary as a Nonbinary Pronoun

On Sept. 17, Merriam-Webster announced its addition of 530 new words to the dictionary, including an expansion of the definition of "they" to include the use of the word as a nonbinary pronoun. According to Merriam-Webster's definition, "they" is "used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary," or a person who doesn't identify as a man or a woman.

The dictionary's announcement of the news on Tuesday was met with applause from many people on social media, and the addition comes very quickly after singer Sam Smith came out as nonbinary last week and changed their pronouns to "they/them." Read a few more of Merriam-Webster's new entries ahead.

  • Deep state (noun): An alleged secret network of especially nonelected government officials and sometimes private entities (as in the financial services and defense industries) operating extralegally to influence and enact government policy
  • Pickleball (noun): an indoor or outdoor game that is played on a level court with short-handled paddles and a perforated plastic ball volleyed over a low net by two players or pairs of players
  • Dad joke (noun): A wholesome joke of the type said to be told by fathers with a punchline that is often an obvious or predictable pun or play on words and usually judged to be endearingly corny or unfunny
  • Colorism (noun): Prejudice or discrimination especially within a racial or ethnic group favoring people with lighter skin over those with darker skin
  • Bechdel test (noun): A set of criteria used as a test to evaluate a work of fiction (such as a film) on the basis of its inclusion and representation of female characters
  • Stinger (noun): A short scene that appears during or after the closing credits of a movie