people-first language

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The term first appears in 1988, used by advocacy groups in the United States.

Noun[edit]

people-first language (uncountable)

  1. Language that refers to people with disabilities by saying people first, for example "people with disabilities", instead of adjectives ("disabled people") and copulas ("he is disabled") that would give primacy to the disability.
    • 1988. Letter to the editor, BusinessWeek. Issue 3059
      People with disabilities and professionals in the human services field are promoting the use of "people first" language, which refers to the person first and the disability second: "Americans with disabilities," for example, rather than "disabled Americans".