The Dictionary has officially added LGBTQ+ terms in its glossary and we wholeheartedly support their queer awareness. On Tuesday, last week, the website Dictionary.come announced that it added 650 new words to it and updated 15,000 entries on topics ranging from race and sexual orientation to climate and internet culture. According to the site, the update is its largest ever reflecting changing vocabularies on sensitive topics; many new updates and entries consisted of terms pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community such as ace, asexual, biromantic, deadname, gender-inclusive, trans, and Pride.
Certain words such as ‘ace’ already existed in the dictionary but not in the LGBTQ context. The previous search result for ‘ace’ was a “very skilled person” or “a playing card or die marked with or having the value indicated by a single spot” but now it’s also described in relevance to the queer community. The dictionary now also defines it as an asexual person, who is “free from sexual desires or sexuality.”
The entry includes an example sentence: “At first I thought he was gay, but I’m beginning to think he’s ace.”
Apart from updating meanings of words, the dictionary has added several new LGBTQ+ terms such as the adjective “biromantic”. This is defined as a person “who is romantically attracted to people of two specific and distinct gender identities, as both men and women” on the Dictionary website.
In another huge change, Dictionary.come has highlighted the word homosexual as an offensive term. In a usage alert about the word “homosexual” as disparaging to gay people so they replaced homosexual and homosexuality with gay and gay sexual orientation, respectively. The reason behind this change was to avoid “the implication of a medical diagnosis, sickness, or pathology when describing normal human behaviors and ways of being,” the website said in a press release.
They also revised the definition of the words bisexual, pansexual, etc by updating the phrasing of “romantically or sexually attracted to” to “romantically, emotionally, or sexually attracted to.” Their primary definition of bisexual has become: “noting or relating to a person who is romantically, emotionally, or sexually attracted to both men and women, or to people of various gender identities.”
By adding “various gender identities” in the definition, it helps eliminate the common heterosexual bias in language and also conveys the diversity of human sexual experience and identity. A lot of times cisgender and heterosexual individuals think that these terms aren’t real or substantial, these official definitions add credibility to the terms and also validate the experiences of queer people.
The word Pride with a capital P, which is widely used to denote solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community has also been introduced in the Dictionary as a separate entry. It’s defined as:
- recognition of LGBTQ identity, affirmation of equal rights, and celebration of visibility, dignity, and diversity in the LGBTQ community (formerly referred to as Gay Pride)
- events or organizations that celebrate the LGBTQ community and its members (often used attributively)
The Dictionary has added many more LGBTQ related terms in their update. Here is how it defines some of them:
- attracted to both men and women, or to people of various gender identities; bisexual.
- used by or suitable for any gender; unisex:
- held in common by both the male and female sex, especially sexual characteristics.
- the previous name of someone who has changed that name, especially the pretransition first name of a trans person.
- relating to or intended for any gender; gender-neutral
- of or relating to people with gender expressions outside traditional norms, as transgender, genderqueer, agender, or nonbinary.
- neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance
- having an ambiguous sexual identity or having both masculine and feminine gender characteristics.
- being neither strictly male nor strictly female, often possessing physical sex traits of both.
- a pleasure trip, excursion, picnic
- a public appearance, as by a participant in an athletic contest or event
- the intentional exposure of a person’s denied or secret identity, orientation, or status, especially gay sexual orientation or transgender identity.
If you want to learn more, for a comprehensive list of LGBTQ+ terms, you can visit It’s Pronounced Metrosexual to expand your knowledge about human sexuality and identity.
John Kelly, a senior editor at Dictionary said the LGBTQ terms that were added to the Dictionary are more than just new additions. “It's an ongoing effort to ensure that how we define words reflects changes in language — and life,” he said in a statement. The official revisions are intended to put“people, in all their rich humanity, first,” Kelly added.
The Dictionary also updated terms related to race and mental health
Taking into account the recent Black Lives Matter protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Tayloe due to police brutality, the site will capitalize the B in the word “Black” when referring to an individual’s racial identity. It is also meant to align with the practice of using capital letters for other ethnic groups such as Hispanic.
Why this is important is because lower case “black” has other definitions such as darkness, dirt, and even metaphorical uses that mean doing something evil. The dictionary wants to separate these meanings from the racial identity of people from the African community. The Dictionary has also added other ethnic-specific terms such as “Afro-Latina”, “Afro-Latino,” “Afro-Latinx,” “Filipina,” “Filipinx,” “Pinay,” “Pinoy,” and “Pinxy.”
In their article, Dictionary.com has passionately stated that their goal isn’t to merely create a linguistic or academic experience but a socially conscious one. They mention the adverse effects of the word black used to denote human beings and as an adjective for wickedness. They propagate harmful ideas about Black people which can lead to biased notions about people from a particular race.
The Dictionary has also added an entry for “brownface”, a noun used to imitate South Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern culture or appearance by a member who isn’t part of that ethnic group.
In light of the current conversations on mental health regarding the rising suicides during the pandemic and spike in depression and anxiety, the Dictionary has replaced the search result for “commit suicide” with phrases like “die by suicide” or “end one’s life.”This is because phrases such as “killing yourself” or “successful suicide attempt.” can trigger negative emotions and remind patients of the trauma of their mental illness.
Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, the chief executive of Dictionary.com, said, “These updates ensure the site is documenting how language evolves and helps make sure users always find the meaning they need,” in a statement. She concluded by saying, “2020 has been a year of change like never before, affecting how we live, work, interact — and how we use language.”
Such monumental and structurally important moves are important for the progress of the LGTBQ+ movement. This year has definitely been a bearer of bad news but moves like these hint that there may be a silver lining and restores hope in our institutions.