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Matthew Yglesias recommends against being 'mad' that the meaning of words changes over time

As you no doubt have heard, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the first black woman on the Supreme Court said she couldn’t define “woman” because she’s “not a biologist.” The Washington Post’s Philip Bump quickly whipped up a piece about Senate Republicans trying to “undercut” Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation by asking her to define “woman,” but if you need a reason to be concerned, check out attorney Ron Coleman’s thread about why it matters.


Matthew Yglesias notes that it’s not a great basis for a political ideology to be “mad” that the meanings of words over time; actually, since the meaning of words changes, let’s change “notes” to “mansplains.” We know how Yglesias as a man feels about “woman” having no strict definition, but how do biological women feel about it?



Great points.


How long has the word “woman” been around and how many times has its definition changed over that time period? If the definition is “evolving,” it’s doing it awfully quickly and for most people at the risk of being canceled or banned from social media. Simply put:


We wouldn’t necessarily call it a ratio, but people seem to agree there’s a difference between a definition evolving organically over time and a drastic change being forced on people.


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