The prestigious MacMillan Dictionary has changed its definition of the word ‘marriage’ to include gay couples, becoming the first British dictionary to do so.
The entry now reads:
“The relationship between two people who are husband and wife, or a similar relationship between people of the same sex.”
MacMillan Dictionary editor-in-chief Michael Rundell said the expanded definition could mean a similar change for the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ in the future.
“In a same sex relationship two men are probably not going to refer to themselves as ‘wife’, but if it’s two women, they might, so we need to keep an eye on that.”
The dictionary’s definitions reflect detailed analysis of real world usage, he said.:
“We have a corpus of two billion words, a huge collection of text including books, magazines and recorded speech, which we analyse in great detail to understand frequent and common usage”
The definition of ‘marriage’ in the Oxford English Dictionary currently only states that the term is “sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex”.