Cambridge Dictionary alters 'man' and 'woman' definitions, faces criticism
The United Kingdom (UK) based Cambridge Dictionary has updated the definition of "man" and "woman" to incorporate individuals who identify as genders different from their biological sex. The Washington Post quoted a Cambridge Dictionary spokesperson saying that its editors "made this addition to entry for 'woman' in October." It is learned that the change received recognition after The Telegraph reported the news this week.
New definition of man and woman
The updated definition of "Man" now reads: "An adult who lives and identifies as a male though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth." Furthermore, the new definition of a "Woman" has been stated as: "An adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth."
Definitions changed after carefully studying word usage patterns
While speaking about the editor's move to change the definitions of man and woman, Cambridge University Press and Assessment spokeswoman Sophie White stated: "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."
New examples for the word 'Man'
With the new definitions, the dictionary also added a couple of examples to explain the meaning of the terms. When it comes to "man," the two examples are: "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."
New examples for the word 'woman'
Meanwhile, the examples included by the dictionary for "Woman" are: "Mary is a woman who was assigned male at birth" and "She was the first trans woman elected to a national office."
Reaction to the new meaning of man and woman
Since tweaking the definitions in October, the changes have been receiving a lot of criticism on social media lately. A Twitter user wrote: "Remember, if you can control the language, you can control the population." Meanwhile, another user took to Twitter and stated: "Short version: Cambridge Dictionary definition of 'woman' - "Whatever you think it is."
Reaction post on social media to Cambridge Dictionary's changes
The Cambridge Dictionary just changed the definition of "woman." Remember, if you can control the language, you can control the population.— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) December 13, 2022
Cambridge joins Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionary
With these new additions, Cambridge Dictionary joins the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster to further extend their definitions of "man," "woman," and "female," respectively. In 2020, Oxford changed its definition of "woman" following criticism over its description being "sexist." Merriam-Webster also added another definition for "woman" that states how being a woman stands for "having a gender identity that is the opposite of male."