The Changing Dictionary Definition of Marriage

It was promised a few months back, Macmillan and Collins English Dictionaries have done it, and some French and Spanish dictionaries did it years ago – changed their definitions of marriage. Now the OED has completed its promise, and adapted its own definition of marriage to include those of same – sex couples.

Oxford Dictionary officially changes marriage definition to include gay couples

World’s most renowned dictionary of the English language and several other British dictionaries have changed their definition after England and Wales made same-sex marriage law


Photo by Scott Nunn.

The world’s most renowned dictionary of the English language has officially changed the definition of ‘marriage’ to include gay people.

Oxford English Dictionary online now acknowledges marriage is no longer defined as being between a man and a woman.

Future paper editions published of the dictionary will have the new, updated definition of the word.

Compilers for the OED have added ‘the relation between persons married to each other’ to its definition ‘the condition of being a husband or wife.’

It now has the note ‘the term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex.’

-full report at  Gay Star News.

A report at the Christian Post on the changing dictionary definition quotes a tweet by a Catholic bishop:

“Macmillan Dictionary have redefined marriage. Sorry, but UK law is not enough to change the order of Creation and the way we normally speak,” tweeted Roman Catholic Bishop Charles J. Scicluna.

That’s obviously true. Law cannot change language – but neither can the Church prevent changes in language. The simple fact is, that even before the passage of equal marriage legislation, common speech was already referring to civil partnerships as “marriage”, to the CP ceremonies as “weddings”, and the spouses as men’s husbands, and women’s wives. The law did not change the way we speak  – it recognized what had already occurred.

And that is something the bishops cannot retrospectively prevent.

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