Why "they" was named word of the year

Merriam-Webster named the nonbinary pronoun the word of 2019. Here's why.

Not conforming to gender binary "norms"

Singer Sam Smith and Actors Nico Tortorella and Indya Moore identify with the gender-neutral pronoun “they.” This gender-neutral singular pronoun was named the word of 2019 by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The new use of "they" describes someone who does not identify as male or female. The selection of the word of the year is based on data on the words looked up in large numbers. As more celebrities are coming out as non-binary, they are shedding a light on this gender identity.

Anyone who does not identify as either male or female

There is evidence of people identifying as something other than male or female as far back as 400BC. Using gender neutral pronouns reduces mental biases favoring men and boosts positive feelings towards women and LGBTQIA people, according to a recent study from PNAS. Someone who is non-binary or genderqueer thinks of gender as a spectrum rather than a binary opposition. And this, obviously, happens regardless of sex assigned at birth. There are also frequent cases of parents deciding to raise their kids as non-binary. This genderfluid parental approach allows children to pick the gender they feel more comfortable identifying with when they’re old enough.

Despite what a common misconception states, identities beyond the gender binary aren’t new

An underrepresented part of the broader LGBTQIA community, non-binary folks are constantly challenging gender stereotypes associating this identity with androgyny. Being non-binary, in fact, doesn’t necessarily imply a need to be androgynous or rather comply with the traditional idea of what androgynous should look like. Other Hollywood stars have opened up about rejecting the gender binary. "Queer Eye" star Jonathan Van Ness and "Billions" star Asia Kate Dillon identify as gender non-binary. To be gender non-binary means that a person feels like they don't fit into a strictly "male" or "female" category.


01/01/2020 10:57 AM


  • Angelica L.
    04/19/2020 00:34

    well good luck to us non native english speakers.... 🥺😥😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  • Rimar C.
    03/22/2020 07:23

    see the video

  • Susan W.
    03/01/2020 01:14


  • Zachary G.
    02/29/2020 23:25

    We get it your a different kind of gay.

  • Chapman C.
    02/29/2020 20:21

    It’s so sickening to see sooooo many people complaining about a word. A word that means very little to the speaker but can have such a profound effect on the receiver. Y’all saying “I respect people’s blah blah BUT” don’t understand respect, especially if you can’t adapt and adjust to a new pronoun. I can’t even 🙄

  • Woodrow C.
    02/29/2020 19:05

    It’s really not as hard as you all are making it out to be. Consideration is free. Kindest doesn’t cost a dime. You don’t have to like it or understand to just do it for the happiness of others. I’m happy as a he/him male, but won’t go out of my way to disregard someone else’s feelings because it’s “confusing”.

  • Gypsey N.
    02/29/2020 18:53

    And just like that, I stopped listening to sam smith

  • Isaiah S.
    02/29/2020 02:09

    this is the video

  • Averi S.
    02/29/2020 00:31

    I will NOT call someone “they” that’s stupid asf. Y’all non binary peeps aren’t more special cause you decide you identify as something other than what you were born as. Sorry not sorry you will get called he or she from me

  • Natasha M.
    02/28/2020 20:54

    THEY are all idiots. THEY are SHEs and HEs.. nothing else to it! 🙄🙄🖕🏻🖕🏻

  • Tonya H.
    02/28/2020 20:07


  • Jesse S.
    02/28/2020 19:56


  • Jay N.
    02/28/2020 15:25

    August Davidson 😊

  • Guelli G.
    02/28/2020 14:02

    Rappers say "they" in songs instead of "their"

  • Evrette A.
    02/28/2020 06:34


  • Pj B.
    02/28/2020 04:52

    Sorry, but when I refer to someone, it's either he or she. I'm old school. They refers to more than one.

  • Kristin C.
    02/28/2020 00:12

    🤔 I love Sam Smith but this is too much

  • Jibri O.
    02/27/2020 07:11

    yeah they are thay alright... smh

  • Jimmy D.
    02/27/2020 05:13

    Anyone who does this is just seeking attention or delusional chill out sam you're a dude your dress like one and present as one! Great voice but you dont need to do this to stay relavant

  • Timothy B.
    02/27/2020 01:40

    Am I old school or does “they” mean multiple people.... someone needs a psychologist...

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