Cambridge English dictionary updates its definitions of man and woman
The dictionary also added examples to give a clear insight into the usage of the words
The Cambridge Dictionary has updated its definition of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to include people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Earlier, the definitions had outmoded ideas about sex, presuming that biological sex and gender were mutually exclusive.
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Now, the new definition of ‘man’ reads, “An adult who lives and identifies as a male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.” Similarly, the word ‘woman’ is now defined as “An adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.”
The dictionary also added examples to give a clear insight into the usage of the words. The example for ‘man’ reads, “Mark is a trans man (= a man who was said to be female when they were born). It also stated two examples of the word ‘woman’. One read, “Mary is a woman who was assigned male at birth.” The other example said, “She was the first trans woman elected to a national office.”
A spokesperson for the dictionary told media sources that after researching the usage trends of the word ‘woman’ in society, the dictionary editors made the changes. They chose to inform English language learners about the updated definition. However, online users had divided opinions on the modified definitions.
“Our editors made this addition to the entry for woman in October. They 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. The first definition at the entry for woman remains unchanged and continues to be ‘an adult female human being,’” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.
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According to sources, the updated definitions, which were made in October, are currently receiving criticism on social media. “The Cambridge Dictionary just changed the definition of ‘woman.’ Remember, if you can control the language, you can control the population,” a user tweeted. Another user wrote, “1984 wasn't supposed to be a how-to manual.”