Don’t tell the Oxford Dictionary marriage can’t be redefined. While lawmakers across the country struggle over whether to change the definition of marriage to make it more inclusive, the dictionary’s publishers just went ahead and did it for them.
Basically, publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary, which is the world’s most renowned and respected dictionary, will alter the definition of marriage to include gay couples.
In a statement to GayStarNews, an Oxford University Press spokeswoman said that the folks behind the book are always watching how words evolve and change in our culture, and update the dictionary to reflect that.
“We continually monitor the words in our dictionaries, paying particular to those words whose usage is shifting, so yes, this will happen with marriage,” she said.
Currently, the Oxford Dictionary’s marriage definition reads: “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.”
How will the new definition read? Other countries where same-sex marriage is legal have updated their dictionaries already.
In France, the leading dictionary Larousse defines marriage as: “a solemn act between two same-sex or different-sex persons, who decide to establish a union.”
Canada’s Space Dictionary defines it as: “the state of being a married couple voluntarily joined for life (or until divorce).”
So the Oxford will probably read something like that. But it will be different in some respects.
“It’s worth pointing out that, as the OED is distinct from other dictionaries in being a historical record of the language, meanings of the past will remain, even while language changes and new ones are added,” the Oxford spokeswoman added.
What do you think of Oxford Dictionary’s marriage revision?