Dictionary.com Updates Entry on ‘Bisexual’

Searching the word ‘bisexual’ on  Dictionary.com, now yields a more satisfying result.

You’ll still find the usual definitions for the biological sense of the term, but when it comes to the word as a sexuality or identity label a few changes have been made:

dictonary

The new text is accompanied by an explanatory note which reads, in part, “The term is increasingly being used to refer to a level of sexual fluidity in which an individual moves bidirectionally along a spectrum of sexuality. This newer sense accounts for attraction to people who do not fall within the gender binary”.

The  word ‘bisexual’ has been defined by leading bi organisation as attraction to more than one gender since the early days of the movement, and a recent social media campaign calling for Merriam-Webster to update its own definition gained over 1000 digital signatures.

While many prefer the more succinct definition of ‘bisexuality’ as the attraction to more than one gender, this update from has nevertheless been welcomed by the community.

The move was made as part of a series of ongoing changes related to gender and sexual identity, Jane Solomon, senior content editor and lexicographer at Dictionary.com told Biscuit. “In fact we made so many new additions and edits related to this theme in the recent past that Dictionary.com chose the term identity as our 2015 Word of the Year.

Lexicographers at Dictionary.com follow a descriptivist method, looking at how a word is being used and using cues from professional organisations, social media and other ‘real world’ scenarios to refine definitions to inform the definitions and understand their context.

Does Solomon think other dictionaries will follow suit? “I see no reason why other dictionaries wouldn’t also eventually update their definitions” she says, though she adds, “With so many definitions already existing, and more on our wishlist to add, there’s always a backlog”.

 

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Libby Baxter-Williams

Libby is a 30-something Londoner, who spends more time reading picture books than is seemly. She became a bi activist entirely by accident, but now she can't imagine living any other way. In the event of an emergency, she'll have a large gin and tonic, thanks.
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3 Responses to Dictionary.com Updates Entry on ‘Bisexual’

  • Yay!!! But I am very uncomfortable with the phrase, “…to refer to a level of sexual fluidity in which an individual moves bidirectionally along a spectrum of sexuality.”
    If they had only inserted the word, “also” before “refer” that would be so much better, because as it reads now, it seems to imply that bisexuality is all about people whose sexual attractions change or vary, which is not the case for many bisexuals – I, myself for example have been all my long life exactly the same attracted to multiple genders at the same level at the same time – though for some people there is change.

  • Amy says:

    Attraction to more than one gender or two or more gender is a much simpler definition, why are they making it so complicated. Though I do appreciate the step away from “attraction to men and women”.

  • Br. Michael C. Oboza+ says:

    As a retired Michael Page awarded Bisexual activist from Chicago… I am happy that we arrived… Again. #BisexualsExist

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