Cambridge Dictionary updates definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to include trans people

Cambridge Dictionary has published new definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to make the words more inclusionary.

A new definition for ‘man’ now reads as: “An adult who lives and identifies as male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.”

The same new definition was added for ‘woman’, but substituting the word ‘man’ for ‘woman’.

Cambridge Dictionary still maintains its definitions that ‘woman’ is “an adult female human being” and a ‘man’ is “an adult male human being”.

A spokesperson for Cambridge Dictionary told The Telegraph that editors made the addition 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.”

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The spokesperson noted the Cambridge dictionaries “are designed to help users understand English as it is currently used”.

They said the dictionary was “regularly” updated, based on the analysis of a large set of texts “from all areas of writing and publishing”.

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The new definitions were welcomed as “good news” by Dr Jane Hamlin, the president of transgender support charity Beaumont Society.

”There has been so much misinformation and rubbish written about definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ lately, but these definitions are clear, concise and correct,” she told The Telegraph.

Cambridge isn’t the first dictionary to make changes to identifying words.

Miriam-Webster did so to ‘female’ and ‘girl’ in 2021, which led to a man named Jeremy David Hanson sending threatening messages that he was going to “shoot up and bomb” the dictionary’s offices “for lying”.

He is due to be sentenced in January 2023 and faces up to five years in prison, CBS News reported when Hanson pleaded guilty in September 2022.

Miriam-Webster had also previously updated its definition of ‘bisexual’, as well as adding ‘they’ as a singular gender-neutral pronoun.

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