Oxford Dictionary Will Change Definition Of “Marriage” To Include Gay Couples

You want the definition of marriage? Go look it up.

1. Recently a group of anonymous artists in San Francisco began “hacking” the definition of marriage by vandalizing dictionaries in bookstores.


2. They would be pleased to learn the world’s most well-known dictionary has reportedly decided the definition of “marriage” will change to include same-sex couples.

3. Due to the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, the Oxford English Dictionary will look into how this change affects the meaning of the word.

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4. As it currently stands, the Oxford English Dictionary defines marriage as:

5. Only in a reference does the definition say marriage could also be “(in some jurisdictions) a union between partners of the same sex.”

Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

6. The press spokeswoman for Oxford University stated:

We are constantly monitoring usage in this area in order to consider what revisions and updates we may need to make. It’s worth pointing out that, as the OED is distinct from other dictionaries in being a historical record of the language, meanings of the past will remain, even while language changes and new ones are added.

7. How does Oxford’s definition stack up against other dictionaries?

8. The other popular book of words, Merriam-Webster, defines marriage as:

So close, and yet.

9. A French dictionary, The Larousse, defines marriage as:

10. According to Gay Star News, the Oxford staff say they will monitor how the word changes over the next year.

Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group / MCT

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Sarah Karlan is the associate LGBT editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at
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