Dictionary.com has issued a massive update, altering more than 15,000 entries on its site. The changes, which comprise the largest update ever to the resource, are mostly aimed at putting people first and respecting (and reflecting) the relationship language has with society and its values.
“The unprecedented events of 2020, from the pandemic to the (George Floyd) protests, have profoundly changed our lives—and language,” they wrote in a post. Among the changes, Dictionary.com capitalized Black when referring to a race or culture and made its own entry, in addition to improving language around addiction and suicide. Words like jabroni, MAGA, GOAT, and contouring were also added. But a large contingent of changes had to do with the LGBTQ+ community.
"Capitalizing Black joins many other dictionary-wide efforts to put people, not practices, first, and ensure our definitions reflect—and respect—how people use language," the resource wrote. One of those changes was to replace references to homosexual and homosexuality with gay, gay man, gay woman, or gay sexual orientation. As such the definition for gayness is now "gay or lesbian sexual orientation or behavior" as opposed to "homosexuality." the change impacted over 50 entries.
"The previously used terms, homosexual and homosexuality, originated as clinical language, and dictionaries have historically perceived such language as scientific and unbiased," they wrote of the change which was done in consultation with GLAAD and APA guidelines. "But homosexual and homosexuality are now associated with pathology, mental illness, and criminality, and so imply that being gay—a normal way of being—is sick, diseased, or wrong."
Words like bisexual and pansexual also were updated to reflect that they are not only romantic or sexual attractions but also emotional attraction. Pride, in reference to LGBTQ+ identity, also receives its own entry and is capitalized.
A number of terms that pertain to the community were also added including deadname (to call a person, especially a trans person, by a previous name as opposed to their chosen or preferred name), gender-inclusive (relating to or intended for any gender), biromantic (a person who is romantically attracted to people of two specific and distinct gender identities), and trans+ (relating to people with gender expressions outside of traditional norms) and more.