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On Tuesday, Dictionary.com deemed the word “woman” to be the word of the year for 2022, calling it a “prime example of the many gender terms undergoing shifts.” The site suggested that, “more than ever, we are all faced with questions about who gets to identify as a woman.” The word-defining website also indicated unease at being the final arbiter: “The dictionary is not the last word on what defines a woman.” 

The Dictionary.com official definition of woman is “an adult female person.” Yet, the word of the year announcement was more cautious: “Our selection of woman as our 2022 Word of the Year reflects how the intersection of gender, identity, and language dominates the current cultural conversation and shapes much of our work as a dictionary.” 

The word of the year posting noted there was a surge in searches for the word “woman” during the Ketanji Brown Jackson Supreme Court confirmation hearings. The article stated, “Specifically, the surge in lookups came after she was asked by Senator Marsha Blackburn to provide a definition for the word woman.” 

BIDEN ADMIN AGENCIES REFUSE TO ANSWER, ‘WHAT IS A WOMAN?’

People communication and friendship concept - smiling young women drinking coffee or tea and gossiping at outdoor cafe

People communication and friendship concept – smiling young women drinking coffee or tea and gossiping at outdoor cafe
(iStock)

Dictionary.com asserted that the questioning at the hearing indicated that “we are all faced with questions about who gets to identify as a woman (or a man, or neither). The policies that these questions inform transcend the importance of any dictionary definition—they directly impact people’s lives.” 

Regarding issues like the overturning of Roe and the election of women in the midterms, Dictionary.com hinted about possible changes for the word “woman”: “From our perspective as observers and recorders of language change, the word woman is a prime example of the many gender terms undergoing shifts in how and to whom they’re applied.” 

The unsigned article cited the “real world” as an indicator of its goals: “Our core work is making sure that the dictionary reflects how people use words in the real world.”

DICTIONARY.COM ADDS HUNDREDS OF NEW ENTRIES FOR 2021, INCLUDING A FEW VERY CROMULENT WORDS

UNITED STATES - MARCH 21: Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., listens to senators opening statements during the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Bidens nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, on Monday, March 21, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – MARCH 21: Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., listens to senators opening statements during the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Bidens nominee for Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, on Monday, March 21, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Dictionary.com also suggested that the word-defining site can’t really make the final call on what a woman is: “The dictionary is not the last word on what defines a woman. The word belongs to each and every woman—however they define themselves.” 

NewsBusters.org executive editor Tim Graham talked to FoxNews digital about Dictionary.com’s word of the year announcement. He argued, “If you need a dictionary to figure out what the word ‘woman’ means, then you’ve gotten lost in the cultural soup. Dictionaries should be for tougher words, like ‘hornswoggle.’ Which is what transgender ideologues do on the gender binary.” 

The U.S. celebrates National Dictionary Dayon Oct. 16 every year in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday. Webster is considered the father of the American dictionary. (iStock)

The U.S. celebrates National Dictionary Dayon Oct. 16 every year in honor of Noah Webster’s birthday. Webster is considered the father of the American dictionary. (iStock)
(iStock)

Cambridge Dictionary has changed its definition of the word “woman.” It now can be “an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth.” 

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