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Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

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


TERF (plural TERFs)

  1. (see usage notes) A trans-exclusionary radical feminist; a radical feminist who does not consider trans women to be women, or thinks they should not be included in female spaces or organisations, and who considers trans men to be women; a transphobic person.
    Synonyms: FART (derogatory), GC, GCF, gendercrit, gendercritter (derogatory), terven
    Antonyms: TIRF, transfeminist
    • 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 December, Rachel Eliason, “Wired This Way”, in ACCESSline, volume 27, number 12, 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.
    • 2018, Keridwen N. Luis, Herlands: Exploring the Women's Land Movement in the United States:
      Although some TERFs attend the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, none of my interviewees or other land-women have identified as a TERF, nor have any TERFs, to my knowledge, ever lived on women's land.
    • 2019, Morgan Lev Edward Holleb, The A–Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, →ISBN, page 252:
      The point here isn't that some TERFs aren’t XX and some Nazis aren’t “purely” white (an imaginary category); it’s that their bigotry rests on assumptions about biology and genetics which are scientifically lazy, as if you can “see” race and gender in a meaningful yet simplistic and binary way.
    • 2020 June 10, Esther Wang, “For the Love of God, Please Make J.K. Rowling Stop”, in Jezebel[4], archived from the original on 10 November 2022:
      That Rowling used terms like “gender critical” (the preferred descriptor of TERFs rather than, well, TERF); that she believes laws that enable trans people to use the bathrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity will “open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside,” which she says is the “simple truth” but is not backed up by any evidence whatsoever; and that she paints the movement for trans rights as one that is “doing demonstrable harm” to women and girls and is “offering cover to predators like few before it” is proof enough of what her views are and who she aligns herself with, for all of her protestations that she has trans friends and cares about the safety of trans women.
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:TERF.
Usage notes[edit]
  • This term is used mainly in critical discourse by trans-inclusive feminists and other opponents of the beliefs to which the term refers. Feminists who hold such views tend to prefer other terms, most notably gender-critical, and often maintain that TERF is derogatory or a slur.[2] Trans-inclusive feminists counter that the term is merely descriptive.[3]
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[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]
  2. ^ Flaherty, Colleen (29 August 2018), “'TERF' War”, in Inside Higher Ed[2]
  3. ^ Rachel, McKinnon (March 2018), “The Epistemology of Propaganda”, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research[3], volume XCVI, issue 2, →DOI

Etymology 2[edit]



TERF (countable and uncountable, 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.



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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from English TERF.


  • IPA(key): /ˈteɾf/ [ˈt̪eɾf]
  • Rhymes: -eɾf
  • Syllabification: TERF


TERF m or f by sense (plural TERF)

  1. TERF (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist)
    Synonym: terfa
    • 2022, Carme Ferré-Pavia, Gorka Zaldívar, “El feminismo trans excluyente en Twitter: un monólogo sesgado en #ContraElBorradoDeLasMujeres”, in Revista de Comunicación y Tecnologías Emergentes[5], volume 20, number 2:
      Son comunes las apelaciones a los partidos, con crítica de las TERF tanto a los partidos de derechas como a los de izquierdas que apoyan la libre identidad de género.
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)