Merriam-Webster Adds ‘Latinx’ to Its Dictionary

Sep 5, 2018
10:24 am

As part of a move that added more than 840 words, “Latinx” is now part of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, according to a blog post at merriam-webster.com.

Here is the official definition of Latinx in Merriam-Webster:

Definition of Latinx

of, relating to, or marked by Latin American heritage used as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina

  • … the oldest of three girls in a tightknit Latinx family —Christine Almeda
  • During her victory speech last night, the activist … thanked the district’s primarily Latinxcommunity for their trust in her vision for America. —Kat Armstrong
  • … the first openly LGBTQ Latinx person elected governor in the US …—Terrance Heath

The dictionary also posted a longer explanation about why it added Latinx to the dictionary (and it is pronounced) in a post called ‘Latinx’ And Gender Inclusivity.

Part of that explanation states: “Latinx purposefully breaks with Spanish’s gendered grammatical tradition. X signifies something unknown and is used in Latinx to connote unspecified gender. A similar use of ‘x’ is in Mx., a gender-neutral title of courtesy that is used in place of gendered titles, such as Mr. and Ms. It has been suggested that the use of ‘x’ in Mx. influenced Latinx.”

The post also added this at the end of the post: “Though Latinx is becoming common in social media and in academic writing, it is unclear whether it will catch on in mainstream use. Nevertheless, it is gaining noticeable traction among the general public as a gender-inclusive term for Latin Americans of diverse identities and orientations.”

As for us? We were one of the first U.S. digital outlets to dive into the debate about the use of Latinx. We published a case for Latinx in 2015, as well as a case against it. We have also published several additional pieces from different contributors since then. In addition, our editorial style is to follow whatever a contributor wants to use as a term. It has worked for us for a while now.

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