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Move Over Miss, Mrs. and Mr.: There's a Transgender and Gender-Neutral Term That Could Make Its Way Into the Oxford English Dictionary

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Oxford English Dictionary is considering the addition of a relatively new term to describe transgender or gender-neutral individuals: "Mx."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Like Mr., Mrs. and Miss, Mx. will possibly be added into the mix as an appropriate descriptive for individuals who have transitioned, are considering a transition or who do not define themselves as being a specific gender.

The U.K. dictionary's assistant editor, Jonathan Dent, recently told the Sunday Times that his staff is currently considering whether to add Mx.

"This an example of how the English language adapts to people’s needs, with people using language in ways that suit them rather than letting language dictate identity to them," he said.

The term has been made available for use over the past few years in the U.K. on government documents such as licenses and university records, among other official matters, the Advocate reported.

While Mx. has gained acceptance and is currently used in the U.K., it is not an honorific term that is rampantly utilized in the U.S., leading Emily A. Brewster, associate editor with Merriam-Webster Inc. to tell the Christian Post that her team is merely monitoring its presence in America.

"Contrary to what some news outlets have reported, the [Oxford English Dictionary] does not yet include the honorific Mx. We're not surprised, though, that its editors are considering adding the term," she said. "Mx. is used increasingly on various official forms in the U.K., as well in British newspapers and periodicals."

It is unclear whether the Oxford English Dictionary will definitively add the term, but, for now, it is at least under discussion.

Some language experts have taken issue with Mx., not because they oppose a gender-neutral term, but because they believe that it is not a viable term. Roland Sussex, a language expert, said it is unclear and looks like a "half-blown scientific formula or expression of some kind."

What do you think? 

(H/T: Christian Post)

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Front page image via Shutterstock.com.

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