Oxford English Dictionary May Add Gender-Neutral ‘Mx’ Honorific

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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The Oxford English Dictionary may soon add the gender-neutral “Mx” honorific as a way to address people who are transgender or do not identify with either gender.

“Mx,” which proponents proclaim is pronounced as either “mux” or “mix,” would be joining the ranks of other honorifics, such as “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Ms.,” and “Miss.” “Mx” would be the first addition to the traditional honorifics in decades.

“This is an example of how the English language adapts to people’s needs, with people using language in ways that suit them rather than letting language dictate identity to them,” Jonathan Dent, assistant editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, told The Sunday Times.

The United Kingdom has already begun accepting “Mx” on official government documents in the past few years. Banks and universities in the U.K. have also started to use the honorific, although one company admits it isn’t using the title “because employees were unsure about how to pronounce it without offending.”

This announcement by the Oxford English Dictionary comes after Sweden recently added the gender neutral “hen,” a combination of the male “han” and the female “hon,” to its dictionary.