The term “woman” is defined by Cambridge Dictionary as an adult female human being. However, it recently added another definition: “an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.”
The online dictionary gave the following examples: “She was the first trans woman elected to a national office” and “Mary is a woman who was assigned male at birth.”
“Our editors 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,” a Cambridge Dictionary spokesperson said in a statement. “The first definition at the entry for woman remains unchanged.”
Moreover, the Cambridge Dictionary updated its definition of “man” to include “an adult who lives and identifies as a male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.”
The examples given were: “Mark is a trans man (a man who was said to be female when they were born)” and “their doctor encouraged them to live as a man for a while before undergoing surgical transition.”
The updates made by Cambridge Dictionary are seen as an effort to be “politically correct,” although its spokesperson said that such changes are meant to just provide an accurate depiction of how certain words are used in society today.
“Our dictionaries are written for learners of English and are designed to help users understand English as it is currently used,” the spokesperson said. “They are compiled by analyzing 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 widely used dictionary and thesaurus for learners were not the first to change definitions in their bid to promote “inclusion.”
In 2020, Merriam-Webster added a supplementary definition of “female” that said “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male,” which drew flaks from a lot of critics. The year before, the publishing company added a new definition to the pronoun “they” to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s highest court recently ruled that transgender women should be included in legislation aimed at improving gender balance on public boards. The ruling dismissed a second judicial review of the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act 2018 brought by the campaign group For Women Scotland, which argued that trans women shouldn’t be included in the definition of “women.”
“Woman” and “man” definition updates add up to confusion and division
The definition-changing has received mixed opinions and is causing division among people when it comes to principles.
Dr. Jane Hamlin, the president of the Beaumont Society, a charity that supports transgender and non-binary people, lauded Cambridge Dictionary’s move to update the definitions. According to her, this was 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,” she stated.
But campaign group Sex Matters Executive Director Maya Forstater disagreed, saying that the primary dictionary definition should remain as “adult human female and male.” This is also the legal definition and the one most people understand, she added.
Back in 2020, renowned Harry Potter series author JK Rowling was accused of being transphobic after she posted a tweet referring to a headline about “people who menstruate.” Earlier in the year, Rowling also had a conflict with Labor Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer. She accused him of misrepresenting equalities laws after he said that “trans women are women.” (Related: Transgender fury as JK Rowling mocks article for suggesting men can menstruate.)
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Watch the video below that talks about defining “women” as recipients of the Brandon administration’s healthcare services.
This video is from the Wake Up channel on Brighteon.com.
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