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From mis- +‎ gender, 1989.[1]



misgender (third-person singular simple present misgenders, present participle misgendering, simple past and past participle misgendered)

  1. (transitive) To refer to (someone) using terms that express the wrong sex or gender, either unknowingly or intentionally; for example, calling a woman "son" or a boy "she".
    Coordinate terms: deadname, mispronoun
    • 2013, Kelby Harrison, “Introduction: Many Have Passed; Some Have Failed”, in Sexual Deceit: The Ethics of Passing, Lexington Books, →ISBN, page 12:
      Gendering is the process of classifying and identifying the gender of other people, quickly and usually unconsciously, based on just a few visual and/or audio clues. This process of gendering privileges cisgendered people as few cisgendered people have had the experience of being misgendered. The experience of being misgendered is common for all transgendered people before they transition and for many transgendered people after they transition.
    • 2013 August 22, Katie McDonough, “Media willfully misgender Chelsea Manning”, in Salon[1], archived from the original on 2013-07-15:
      With a few notable exceptions [] reports from the mainstream press willfully misgendered Manning while reporting this news.
    • 2016, Michele Angello, Ali Bowman, Raising the Transgender Child:
      Occasionally, of course, we misgender people by accident. As a child is transitioning from presenting as a boy to presenting as a girl, for example, it may take time for friends and adults around that child to remember to use the pronoun "she," no matter how loving, accepting, and well meaning they are.
    • 2016 November, Douglas Guilbeault, Samuel Woolley, “How Twitter Bots Are Shaping the Election”, in The Atlantic[2]:
      Socially empowering bots are out there. For instance, @she_not_he is “a bot politely correcting Twitter users who misgender Caitlyn Jenner.”
    • 2019, Katie Steele, Julie Nicholson, Radically Listening to Transgender Children:
      A cis man who passes easily as male—meaning he was assigned male at birth, he identifies as male, he embodies his culture's ideals of masculinity comfortably, and he has never experienced being misgendered—is at the pinnacle of gender privilege and gender identity power.
    • 2020, Tim Fitzsimons, “Trump campaign adviser 'won't apologize' for misgendering trans health official”, in www.nbcnews.com[3]:
      Trump campaign adviser Jenna Ellis intentionally misgendered Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, on Twitter early Monday morning.
    • 2021, Robbie Moore, “Aliens”, in James Purdon, editor, British Literature in Transition, 1900–1920: A New Age?, Cambridge University Press, →DOI, →ISBN, part I (Nation and Empire):
      Stern (misgendered by Mansfield) is reckless and enthusiastic, and ‘flings [her] net wide; [she] brings it in teeming, []
      Katherine Mansfield, in a 1919 review of the novel Children of No Man’s Land by G. B. Stern (Gladys Bronwyn Stern), wrote, “Mr. Stern flings his net wide; he brings it in teeming, []”.
    • 2023, Silva Neves, “Sex and gender”, in Sexology: The Basics[4], Routledge, →DOI, →ISBN:
      Taking people's pronouns seriously is important because it makes the difference between accepting or dismissing someone's existence. Have you ever noticed how we are usually very careful not to misgender a baby for fear of offending their parents (especially if the mistake is misgendering a baby boy for a girl)? When someone is pregnant, everybody is anxious to know the sex of the baby. Yet, many people in our society seem not to want to make an effort to use the "they" pronouns with someone who requests it. Isn't it a little strange?
  2. (transitive, grammar) To use the wrong grammatical gender with a word.
    • 2017, Rebecca Schuman, Schadenfreude, A Love Story:
      Leonie was always, in fact, the first to point out a misconjugated verb, a misgendered noun, []
    • 2022, Ron Goldberg, “Storming the Ivory Tower”, in Boy with the Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of ACT UP New York[5], Fordham University Press, →ISBN:
      Our first demonstration at the Canadian border—where we’d planned to test rumors about PWAs being denied entry into Canada by announcing we all had AIDS—fizzled when our bus entered the country without incident, save the late realization that our bilingual T-shirts had misgendered the virus—it's “le SIDA,” not “la SIDA”—causing a frantic scramble for sharpies and eyebrow pencils to correct the offending vowel.
    • 2022, John Whitlam, Agripino S. Silveira, Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar: A Practical Guide:
      Next is a list of misgendered words between the two languages:
      Similar words with different genders []

Usage notes[edit]

Misgender (referring to a person as the wrong gender) is almost exclusively used with respect to transgender (including nonbinary) persons, though it could apply to other persons.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ misgender”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present: “First Known Use of misgender 1989, in the meaning defined above”.

Further reading[edit]