Now define “update”

It depends on how you define “definition”

The Cambridge Dictionary has updated its definition of “woman” to include anyone who “identifies as female” regardless of their sex at birth. 

If you mean some people use the word to mean anyone who identifies as, then that’s what the CD has done. If you mean the actual, generally understood, longstanding, literal definition of the word, then the update is absurd and an insult to almost everyone.

Funny thing: the more “inclusive” you make your definitions, the less useful they are. The more you broaden them to take in the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the less they mean anything. If you “update” the definition of women to include men then it doesn’t mean women any more. What does it mean? Not clear.

The dictionary’s editors made the changes after studying patterns of how the word “woman” was being used across society, and concluded that the new definition is one that English learners “should be aware of”.

Should be aware of, yes, but should embrace, no.

This is political, of course, but then how could it not be?

Leave a Comment

Subscribe without commenting