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My Dictionary

Although my copy of The American Heritage Dictionary weighs around ten pounds, it came with us on our two recent moves because I can’t imagine life without it. I know--I can find any definition I want in seconds online. But when I pick up my dictionary, I invariably start to read it. And I think that’s a good thing.

The other day I looked for the origin of “cisgender”, an adjective that means that a person’s identity and gender correspond with the sex assigned at birth, the one declared by saying “It’s a boy!” There was no such word in my 1992 edition. So I had to resort to the computer to learn that cisgender came into general use in 1994. Microsoft Word (at least my version) still doesn’t recognize it.

Years ago, we played a game called “Dictionary”. One person picks a word that no one knows, and all the players write a definition of it. The player who picked the word writes the correct definition. The others write one they make up. Then everyone votes for the definition they think is correct. It’s extremely amusing.

This is my 1156th blog post. Surprisingly, it’s the first containing the word “dictionary” (a reference source in print or electronic form containing words usually alphabetically arranged along with information about their meaning and use).



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Paul Albert

The cover of a recent issue of Out magazine touted that it was "The Women & Nonbinary Femmes Issue". This sent me to an online search about who would describe themselves as a nonbinary femme. (The spelling corrector doesn't recognized either word.) On Wikipedia, the term is described as referring to "nonbinary people that have a feminine gender expression". That is, a person whose gender expression is considered to be feminine but who doesn't identify as either male or female. There is so much to learn!

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