Redefining marriage, literally

Oxford Dictionary MarriageBY STEVE WILLIAMS

Rumors say the Oxford English Dictionary will soon change its definition of the term marriage to include same-sex couples. While this has sent the Religious Right into meltdown, it isn’t actually true — yet. The OED reflects accepted usage and adjusts when words are widened to include different meanings or characteristics, adds to itself when neologisms are offered and retires those terms that fall out of favor. It does not demand strict definitions precisely because it recognizes that language is an evolving creature constantly changing as society changes.

“We continually monitor the words in our dictionaries, paying particular to those words whose usage is shifting, so yes, this will happen with marriage,” the OUP spokesperson is quoted as saying. “We are constantly monitoring usage in this area in order to consider what revisions and updates we may need to make.”


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