Dictionary Updates Definition Of “Woman”

The Cambridge Dictionary has updated its definition of woman to include anyone who identifies as female.

According to The Telegraph:

The online dictionary recently added a supplementary definition of a ‘woman’ which includes transgender people.

It now states that as well as definitions including an “adult female human being”, a woman can also be “an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth”.

It gives the examples: “She was the first trans woman elected to a national office” and “Mary is a woman who was assigned male at birth.”

The Cambridge Dictionary is not the first dictionary to change its definitions. In July, Merriam-Webster added a supplementary definition of ‘female’ that defines the term as “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male”.

Responding to the latest updated dictionary definition, Dr Jane Hamlin, the president of Beaumont Society charity which supports transgender and non-binary people, said: “This is 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!”

However, Maya Forstater, executive director of the campaign group, Sex Matters, said: “The primary dictionary definition remains adult human female and male. This is also the legal definition, and the one most people understand.

“People have always used words in different ways and the dictionary reflects that.”

The Cambridge Dictionary has also updated its definition of ‘man’. As well as definitions including “an adult male human being” and “the human race”, it now includes the definition: “an adult who lives and identifies as male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth”.

It also gives two examples: “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”.

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