Some French users say the dictionary’s addition of a new non-binary pronoun is a step backwards in terms of equality and freedom of expression
A French word definition has been accompanied by a sentence in the country’s much-used dictionary which changes it to “persons other than a man or a woman”.
One version of the Montaigne dictionary adds it to the list of untranslatable words, which were last updated in 2013.
Some users on social media say it goes against progress toward equality and freedom of expression.
The dictionary’s editors say they decided to change the word because a solution was not found to address the problem of its non-binary definition.
“N/P refers to people who have a life outside of a binary binary,” the Montaigne dictionary notes on its web site.
“Some people that people are a few years older than others, have a particular or elusive sexuality, have ‘two heads, one body’ so to speak, their gender identity is not fixed and that of course corresponds to a different sex.
“Other peoples have situations like their mother, for example, like is the case of one particular person.”
The word refers to a non-binary expression that refers to two sexes.
In the beginning, the words was often demeaning and dismissive
Some users on social media have taken issue with the move, saying the inclusion of a number of new words in the dictionary is progress on equality and freedom of expression.
“In the beginning, the words was often demeaning and dismissive,” one Twitter user wrote.
The French Academy, which produces the dictionary, has not responded to a request for comment.