Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: terf



Etymology 1[edit]

Acronym of trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The earliest recorded use is from 2008 by cisgender feminist Viv Smythe.[1]


TERF (plural TERFs)

  1. (often derogatory) A radical feminist who does not consider trans women to be women, and thinks they should not be included in female spaces or organisations.
    • 2013, Toni Browning-Early, letter to the editor, QNotes, Volume 28, Number 6, 19 July - 1 August 2013, page 4:
      Dear "A Lesbian Democrat"
      Your TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) agenda and what it represents is no better than the bigoted regressive agenda of the religious right.
    • 2013, Rachel Eliason, "Wired This Way", ACCESSline, Volume 27, Number 12, December 2013, page 13:
      At the further extreme TERF’s[sic] actively promote the message that banning trans women from feminist gathering implies—that trans women are not really women at all.
    • 2014, Roz Kaveney, "Woman Enough, The Advocate, 16 July 2014:
      Perhaps the sheer nastiness of TERFs comes from the fact that they don’t just know they’ve lost; they know they were on the wrong side from the beginning.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:TERF.
  2. (by extension, often derogatory) A person who is not a radical feminist but espouses beliefs about trans women that are similar to those of a trans-exclusionary radical feminist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smythe, Viv (28 November 2018), “I'm credited with having coined the word 'Terf'. Here's how it happened - Viv Smythe”, in the Guardian[1]

Etymology 2[edit]



TERF (plural TERFs)

  1. (sciences) Abbreviation of telomeric repeat-binding factor.
    TERF1, TERF2
    • 2004, Biochemistry (Moscow), volume 69, issues 1-4, page 118:
      [...] another protein, TERF2, binds at the 5'-terminus and fixes the telomere end at the tail. [...] The figure schematically shows domain structure of TERF1. [...] Interaction of this protein with nucleic acid requires polypeptide dimerization, which involves the TERF domain [12].
  2. (US military) Abbreviation of terrain flight (flight close to the ground, to avoid enemy detection or fire).
    • 1980, United States Marine Corps, Aviation training and readiness manual:
      A MAWTS qualified TERF instructor is required for all TERF instructional sorties.
    • 2003 October 12-16, 'The 22nd Digital Avionics Systems Conference : Proceedings : Indianapolis, IN, volume 2:
      [] Typical TERF altitudes for Navy and Marine Corps helicopters include low level (approximately 100 ft AGL), contour (50 ft AGL), and nap of the earth (NOE) (less than 50 ft AGL). A depiction of typical TERF modes in presented in Figure 3.