Oxford English Dictionary Revises Definition of Marriage to Reflect Same-Sex Relationships
The definition of "marriage" now reads: "The relationship between two people who are husband and wife, or a similar relationship between people of the same sex," with the second clause newly added.
The revision follows the marriage (same sex couples) bill through its crucial reading in the House of Lords on 15 July and accompanies other changes in a significant update to the dictionary. One that is likely to offend grammar purists is the inclusion of "of" as a preposition for use with "bored", as in "bored of".
Macmillandictionary.com editor-in-chief Michael Rundell said the change to the definition of "marriage" might suggest a future redefining of the terms "husband" and "wife". "In a same sex relationship two men are probably not going to refer to themselves as 'wife', but if it's two women, they might, so we need to keep an eye on that."
However the Oxford English Dictionary (OED.com), whose dictionary definitions already include references to same sex marriage, said it "would continue to monitor the way in which the word marriage is used", adding that "dictionaries reflect changes in the use of language, rather than changes in law".
The OED definition of "marriage" is "the condition of being a husband or wife; the relation between persons married to each other; matrimony", with a supplementary line which says "the term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex".