Specific words to accommodate people who choose to use genderless pronouns have been around for the best part of 100 years.
We all know better than to take notice of certain tabloids moaning about ‘political correctness gone mad’ when it comes to the correct use of language when referring to non-binary gender identities, but now it seems that what they like to suggest is a modern phenomenon, isn’t that new at all.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary has pointed out on Twitter that a specific word proposed as a genderless pronoun has been around since 1934.
'Thon' (short for "that one") was a genderless pronoun in Webster's Second (1934). It was dropped from the third edition. pic.twitter.com/sEDj1smbsy
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) March 2, 2017
‘Thon’ was used as a shortened version of ‘that one’, but it was dropped from the third edition later on.
Basically, the word never really caught on, but it proves there was enough of a want for a genderless pronoun at the time for the dictionary to at least include it for a single edition.
Maybe it’s time for ‘thon’s big comeback?
It follows gender-fluid being added to the Oxford English Dictionary last September.