George Orwell recommended the "scrapping of every word or idiom that has outgrown its usefulness." This dictionary is designed, to help you scrap outdated, stereotypical, and damaging language. Those of you who have used the first edition will notice that in addition to terms that are prejudicial to women this edition also includes terms that are prejudicial to men as well as words and phrases that are biased against people because of their race, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin, or belief system.
To best use the book, first familiarize yourself with the Writing Guidelines section, which provides you with many specific kinds of help: a rationale for unbiased language; logical ways of ensuring your material is inclusive; suggestions for replacing masculine pronouns; paragraphs on such things as sex-linked metaphors and our language on prostitution; help with special situations (letter salutations, for example); and practical, easy-to-use guidelines.
The book contains 5,000 entries with 15,000 alternatives. The great majority of these entry words and phrases are biased in some way. When an entry term requires a substitute, it is immediately followed by one or more alternatives. These alternatives (in italics) are listed in order of usefulness and are separated by semicolons when they are for different meanings of the entry. Sometimes notes or comments follow the synonyms. If the entry term is not biased or if alternatives are optional, you may have to read further for synonyms (if any). Cited works are given simply by author and title enough information to allow readers to locate the works, but not enough to overwhelm the entries, many of which are very brief.
And, as humorist Dave Barry would say, we didn't make any of this up. All entry terms and alternatives have been gathered from reference works, from daily newspapers and weekly magazines, and from standard, everyday speech and writing. This is nothing more than a collection of the ways people have found to deal with the bias in our language. Unbiased language is not being legislated somehow "from above." Ordinary people have chosen to replace linguistic pejoration and disrespect with words that grant full humanity and equality to all of us.
You will not agree with everything in this book. There is imperfect consensus today on which words are biased and on what constitutes an
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Publication information: Book title: The Dictionary of Bias-Free Usage:A Guide to Nondiscriminatory Language. Contributors: Rosalie Maggio - Author. Publisher: Oryx Press. Place of publication: Phoenix, AZ. Publication year: 1991. Page number: vii.
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