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The Ultimate Gender-Neutral English Glossary

Two Heads Graphic Courtesy of ETFO Voice

Two Heads Graphic Courtesy of ETFO Voice

Welcome to the ultimate humanist gender-neutral English glossary of terms, the default list and definition of words in common usage and/or part of the Humanist Gender-Neutral English (HGNE) standard.

This glossary can be used in at least two ways:

  1. To find every gender-neutral word in the HGNE standard. These words will appear in green (good), orange (questionable) or red (discouraged) with an underline (if they are new neutral words or terms aka neologisms).
  2. To find existing gender neutral alternatives, if they exist. These are shown in green, orange or red without an underline, depending on recommended usage (or obsolescence).

More detail is provided in the following key, but if you want to jump in, just search for the word you’re looking for or start browsing. Note that this is always a work in progress; new words and updates will be added as I get input from readers like you. Thanks in advance for the help.

Note also that this glossary and HGNE generally try to avoid politics where possible, so I provide gender-neutral options to enhance communications and clarity in English, not to say that all things should be neutral, or not. Usage is entirely up to you.

Key to this Glossary

  • Bold items are alphabetized entries in the glossary.
  • Green and underlined items are the gender-neutral HGNE alternative or addition to existing terms. In some cases, where the need for a gender-neutral is questionable, these are instead orange and underlined.
  • Green but not underlined items are existing neutral terms that are as or more viable than the HGNE suggestion.
  • Red items are of two types: previously suggested or currently used terms that should be eliminated as gender-neutral terms, or gendered terms that are or should obsolete. So, red = bad.
  • Terms that might appear neutral but are actually queer or LGBTQ+ specific are shown in blue. These are shown only where confusion seems likely.
  • Some items are appended with a tag for easy searching:
    • #A indicates animal-related words, which are alphabetized by species rather than the male or female term.
    • #Fa is for family-related terms (pending).
    • #IG is for words that are inherently gendered and don’t appear to have or need a neutral term.
    • #M is for military terms.
    • #NG is for terms that appear gendered but are not.
    • #Pe is for pending terms as a placekeeper.
    • #PI is for pejoratives and insults. Bad #PI, bad!
    • #Re is for religious terms.
    • #RT is for royal, imperial and noble titles.
    • #Un is for unresolved issues, where there is no neutral term but one might be desirable.
    • (W) is a link to Wikipedia for more information.

Note that while colors are used for easy visual reference, you don’t have to able to see or process these colors to use this glossary. Everything is explained in context.

Gender-Neutral English Glossary


-a is a feminizing suffix (e.g., emir / emira). See -um. (W)

Abbot and abbess are augmented by abbum, the head of a monastery, not to be confused with ABBA, the best Swedish rock band ever. #Re (W)

Actor is rapidly becoming the neutral term, and actress should become obsolete except in reference to award ceremonies (e.g., Oscars, Emmys) that use gendered terms for their classifications. The terms player and performer are also used, though primarily in a theatrical context. #Un (W)

Adman and adwoman are augmented by adhom or ad executive.

Administrationman and administration woman are augmented by administrationhom or, more logically, administrator. #M

Administrator is neutral and administratrix is obsolete.

Adulterer is becoming the neutral term, and adulteress should be made obsolete. See concubine and mistress.

Adventurer is neutral and adventuress is obsolete, though the female term was not originally the equivalent of a male adventurer (instead implying a sexually ambitious or deceitful woman). See varietist. (W)

Alderman and alderwoman / aldermaness are augmented by alderhom, though council member might also be appropriate. Avoid using alder, a type of tree. (W)

All men are created equal and all women are created equal are augmented by all homs are created equal or everyone is created equal.

Aircrewman and air crewwoman are augmented by aircrewhom. #M

Airman and airwoman are augmented by airhom or aviator (as now used by the Royal Canadian Air Force).

Alumnus and alumna could be augmented by alumnum, though alum is the preferred term. The plural terms, alumni and alumnae, could also be augmented by alumnums, but alums is still preferable. Alternatively, alumni could be used as gender neutral option if male-only plural use is eliminated. (W)

Ancestor is neutral and ancestress is obsolete.

Anchorman and anchorwoman are augmented by anchorhom, though news presenter and anchor are preferable. (W)

Archduke and archduchess are augmented by archduchum. See duke.

Assassin is neutral and assassinatress and assassinatrix are obsolete. (W)

Assemblyman and assemblywoman are augmented by assemblyhom, though assembly member is also used.

Attaboy and attagirl are augmented by attahem, meaning, “well done.”

Attendor is neutral and rare, and attendress is obsolete.

Aunt and uncle are augmented by ancum and has no other common neutral form, though pibling (the parent’s sibling) is used in some circles. Less common terms include ommer and parsib. Auncle, entle, and ontle appear to be specifically queer terms. See avuncular and pibling and auncle on Wikipedia. #Fa

Author is neutral and authoress is obsolete.

Average Joe and average Jane (and related terms). See common man.

Aviator is neutral and aviatrix is obsolete. See airman. (W)

Avuncular and materteral, meaning uncle-like and aunt-like, have ancular as the neutral term. #Fa


Bachelor and bachelorette, meaning an unmarried person, are augmented by bachelum, though single also works. See spinster.

Bachelor’s / baccalaureate, meaning an undergraduate college degree, is gender neutral.

Ballerina (danseuse in French) and ballet dancer (danseur in French / ballerino in Italian) are used for female and male ballet dancers respectively, with many encouraging the use of ballerina as gender neutral. #Un (W)

Bartender is neutral and barman and barmaid are obsolete.

Barren should should be eliminated as synonym for infertile or sterile, and as a way for people to criticize women (e.g., she is barren) as it is intrinsically gendered and hateful health shaming. One could take the position that we simply need a male equivalent (or we could use barren as a neutral term), but as there is no such existing word (akin to ‘firing blanks’) and the goal is not to create new forms of hate speech, this is discouraged. #PI

Baron and baroness are augmented by baronum. #RT

Baseman and basewoman are augmented by basehom.

Batboy and batgirl are augmented by bathem (or bat-hem).

Beautiful / pretty and handsome have attractive, gorgeous, hot, stunning and other existing neutral equivalents.

Bellboy and bellgirl are augmented by bellhem.

Benefactor is neutral and benefactress is obsolete.

Bimbo and himbo are augmented by humbo, the neutral singular noun for a sexualized and unintelligent person. This can also be used to replace derogatory use of the word blond(e). #PI (W)

Bisectrix is an ungendered term in crystallography and geometry, though it is likely to have gendered origins as the feminine form of bisector, which is also used. #Un (W)

Bishop is an historically male religious title and role, though some inroads have been made by women, who are then called female Bishops (or just Bishops). So while the role is nominally male, the word is not. #Re (W)

Blond and blonde, when used as derogatory terms for a fair-haired person (e.g., a dumb blond), are replaced by humbo (See bimbo). #PI

Blond and blonde, when used as descriptive terms for a fair-haired person (e.g., check out that blond), should be avoided. Instead, say, “Hu has blond hair” or “Hu is blond haired.” See Wikipedia.

Boss is neutral and girlboss / lady boss are, well, cheugy.

Boy and girl are augmented by hem, the neutral singular HGNE noun for a young person, though kid can also be used. Enby is an equivalent non-binary term, though it is nonspecific as to age.

Boy- and girl- are often used as prefixes to gender a word (e.g., boyfriend, girlfriend). By default, these terms can and should be augmented by hem- (e.g., hemfriend).

-boy and -girl are often used as suffixes to gender a word (e.g., schoolboy, schoolgirl), in which case they should be augmented by -hem (e.g., schoolhem) or the plural -hems (e.g., paperhems).

Boyar remains unchanged, as it is not gendered despite appearances. #NG

Boychik and girlchick (uncommon), a Jewish term of endearment, can be augmented by hemchick if so desired, but it’s not clear if this is respectful or necessary. #Un

Boycott is unchanged, as it is not gendered despite appearances. #NG

Boyfriend and girlfriend are augmented by hemfriend or partner.

Boyla is unchanged, despite likely being male-gendered, as it is an refers to specific aboriginal people (magicians, medicinemen or witch doctors) and it’s not clear that a neutral or female equivalent would be respectful of the word’s origins. #IG #Un (W)

Boys and girls are augmented by hems or kids, neutral plural nouns for young people.

Boy toy and girl toy are augmented by hem toy or plaything.

Bride and groom are pending. #Fa #Pe

Bridesmaid and groomsman are pending. #Fa #Pe

Bro and sis / chick have sib as the neutral term. See brother and dude.

Brother and sister have sibling (sib) as the existing neutral term.

Brother and sister, meaning monk and nun, have no neutral option. #IG

Brotherhood and sisterhood have siblinghood as the neutral term, but kinship is also an option.

Brunette is a neutral term, or should be, but it’s safer to avoid usage as a noun. Instead, say, “She has brown hair” or “Hu is brown-haired.”

Bully. See Bullyboy.

Bullyboy (and bullygirl) are both archaic, but have the neutral term bully.

Busboy and busgirl are augmented by bushem (or bus-hem) or busser.

Businessman and businesswoman are augmented by businesshom, though business person is also an option.


Cabin boy and cabin girl are augmented by cabin hem.

Callboy and callgirl are augmented by callhem. Other existing neutral terms include escort, though this is less specific as to implied age.

Cameraman and camerawoman are augmented by camerahom though camera person remains an option. Cinematographer should not be used.

Canon is neutral and canoness is an obsolete term for the member of a religious order. #Re (W)

Cantor. See chanter. #Re

Carboy (aka demijohn or lady jeanne), a big jug, is not gendered. (W)

Career girl and career woman are obsolete, or at least silly.

Caterer is neutral and cateress is obsolete. (W)

Caveman and cavewoman are augmented by cavehom though cave dweller remains an option.

Chambermaid and manservant (the closest male equivalent) are augmented by homservent. See maid.

Chairman and chairwoman are augmented by chairhom or chair.

Chanter (cantor) is neutral and chantress is nearly obsolete. #Re (W)

Chick, meaning girl or woman. See bro and dude.

Chick, meaning a young chicken, has cockerel for males and pullet for females. Other bird species using chick for the young will have different terms for their genders. #A. (W)

Chicken is a neutral term for the species, with hen and cock / rooster used for the adults of each gender. A capon is a castrated rooster. See chick. #A (W)

Choirboy and choirgirl are augmented by choirhem or choir member.

Cicatrix is a scar or a wasp and is not gendered in English. #NG (W)

City father and city mother have city leader as then neutral term.

Cleaning lady and cleaning man have the neutral terms cleaners, custodians, domestics or janitors, depending on context.

Clergyman and clergywoman are augmented by clergyhom or clergy member. The use of alternate but inequivalent titles such as minister, pastor or reverend is discouraged, as it is disrespectful of those with differing roles and authorities in their religion or sect. Clergy member remains an option. #Re

Coadjutor and coadjutrix / coadjutress, meaning a Bishop or Vicar who shares or assists another in their roles, can be augmented by coadjutrum, though it’s possible coadjutor will become neutral over time. #Re (W)

Coed, meaning a female student at a coeducational institution, is or should be made obsolete.

Coed, meaning coeducational, is neutral. (W)

Comedian is rapidly becoming the neutral term, and comedienne should be made obsolete.

Committeeman and committeewoman are augmented by committeehom, though common member also works.

Common man and common woman are augmented by common hom or common person.

Conductor is neutral and conductress and conductrix are obsolete. (W)

Confidant is neutral and confidante is obsolete. (W)

Concubine, a woman in a binding extramarital relationship, has no neutral equivalent, though presumably anyone could engage in concubinage. #IG (W)

Congressman and congresswoman are augmented by congresshom or congress member.

Constructionman and construction woman are augmented by constructionhom or construction worker. #M

Controlman and control woman are augmented by controlhom. #M

Copyboy and copygirl are augmented by copyhem, if anyone still makes copies.

Corpsman and corpswoman, are augmented by corpshom, a member of a civilian or military corps. #M

Councilman and councilwoman are augmented by councilhom, though council member remains an option.

Countryman and countrywoman are augmented by countryhom.

Courtier and courtesan were once equivalent words meaning a man or woman who attended the court of a monarch, but courtesan now generally means prostitute. Courtier is now gender neutral in common usage, and the use of courtesan is discouraged. (W)

Cousin is neutral and cousiness is obsolete. (W)

Cowboy and cowgirl are augmented by cowhem, a young or adult cowhand. See cowman.

Cowman and cow woman are augmented by cowhom, an adult cowperson, though none of these are frequently used. Cowboy and cowgirl are far more likely in common usage.

Craftsman and craftswoman are augmented by craftshom, the neutral term for a young or adult craft artist. The term artisan is not recommended. #M

Crewman and crewwoman are augmented by crewhom or crew member. #M

Count and countess are augmented by countum. See earl. (W) #RT

Courtesan. See courtier and prostitute. (W)


Dad bod is pending. #Pe (W)

Deacon is neutral and deaconess is obsolete. #Re (W)

Delivery boy and delivery girl are augmented by delivery hem, though carrier, courier or messenger could work in some contexts.

Delivery man and delivery woman are augmented by delivery hom, though carrier, courier or messenger could work in some contexts.

Demigod is neutral and demigoddess is an obsolete term for a half-man, half-god creature or lesser deity. See god. #Re (W)

Demon is neutral and demoness is obsolete. #Re

Doughboy (a WWII US soldier) is male gendered, but there does not appear to be an equivalent female term (i.e., doughgirl) or need for a neutral term. #IG (W)

Director is neutral and directrix and directrice are obsolete.

Dominatrix and dominator / sir have the neutral term dom. (W)

Doorman and door woman are augmented by doorhom, though door keeper remains acceptable. The use of attendant is discouraged as it refers to more of a concierge role, but door attendant can work.

Draftsman and draftswoman are augmented by draftshom. #M

Druid is neutral and druidess is obsolete. #Re (W)

Dude and dudette / chick are augmented by homie (pronounced like hominid), an informal term for anyone. (W)

Duke and duchess are augmented by duchum. #RT (W)


Earl and countess are augmented by countum. See count. #RT

Earth. See Mother Earth.

Editor is neutral and editress and editrix are obsolete.

Emasculate, meaning figurative humiliation or literal removal of the penis and testicles, has no female or neutral equivalent, though female genital mutilation is analogous in some ways. #IG (W)

Emasculator is neutral and emasculatrix is obsolete. (W)

Escort. See prostitute.

Emeritus and emerita are augmented by emeritum. The plural terms, emeriti and emeritae, are augmented by emeritums. Alternatively, emeriti could be used as gender-neutral option if the male-only plural use was eliminated.

Emir and emira are augmented by emirum, an archaic naval rank. #M (W)

Emperor and empress are augmented by emprum, though emperor is increasingly the neutral default. #RT (W)

Enby, meaning non-binary. See boy / girl and man / woman.

Enchanter (W) and enchantress (W), with any meaning, are augmented by enchanthom. Related words include magician, sorcerer and so on. You might think enchanter was neutral and enchantress could be obsoleted, as both mean charming, but enchantress remains in common usage and includes implications of beauty and danger that enchanter does not. See siren and femme fatale.

Engineman and enginewoman are augmented by enginehom. #M

-enne is a common feminizing suffix (e.g., comedian / comedienne). See -um and Wiktionary.

Equestrian is becoming neutral and equestrienne is nearly obsolete. #A

Equipmentman and equipment woman are augmented by equipmenthom. #M

-ette is a common feminizing suffix (e.g., usher / usherette) that is also a diminutive (implying smaller or less important), and thus doubly problematic. See -um and Wiktionary.

-ess is a common feminizing suffix (e.g., actor / actress). See -um and Wiktionary.

Executor is neutral and executrix is obsolete. (W)


Farmer is neutral and farmerette is obsolete.

Father, as a parent. See mother.

Father, as a priestly honorific, has no neutral alternative. #IG #Re

Fatherland and motherland have homeland as a neutral term. (W)

Fatherly, meaning protective and affectionate. See motherly.

Father Time is unnecessarily gendered and should be, simply, time, except when explicitly talking about the deity. See Mother Earth / Nature. (W)

Fellator is neutral and fellatrix is obsolete.

Fellow and fellowship are gender neutral.

Fellow man and fellow woman have fellow as a neutral term.

Female. See male. (W)

Female doctor is discouraged. Just use doctor.

Female [whatever] is discouraged except as clarification.

Feminine and masculine are equivalent terms, meaning to have traits stereotypically ideal for women and men respectively. These are intrinsically gendered terms without a neutral equivalent. Androgynous is not neutral, but rather describes something that is not stereotypically masculine or feminine.

Feminism and meninism are nominally equivalent terms, at least linguistically, with humanism as an existing neutral option. (W)

Femme fatale, a dangerous and seductive woman, does not appear to have a male or neutral form. #IG (W)

Fiancée and Fiancé are augmented by fiancum, though betrothed can work in more formal contexts. #Fa

Fireman and fire woman could be augmented by firehom, but firefighter is the preferred neutral term.

Fisherman and fisherwoman are augmented by fisherhom or fisher.

Flight attendant. See steward.

Flyboy and flygirl are augmented by flyhem.

Foal is a young or immature horse or donkey, with males called colts and females called phillies. Younger horses are not called ponies, which are instead a smaller breed or type of horse. #A (W)

Footboy and footgirl are augmented by foothem.

Forefather and foremother have forebear as a neutral term, with ancestor or progenitor as valid options. (W)

Foreman and forewoman are augmented by forehom, though foreperson can also work. Inequivalent options such as supervisor or boss should be discouraged unless the terms are contextually synonymous. (W)

Founder is neutral and foundress is obsolete.

Fraternal and sororal have no good gender neutral alternative. #Un (W)

Fraternity and sorority have no viable gender neutral alternative, though collegiate organization might work in some cases. While many fraternities are coed, this does not mean the word is effectively neutral. #Un (W)

Friar has no female or neutral equivalent. See monk. #IG #Re (W)

Friend has recently been complemented by the unfortunate friendette, but this will hopefully die a natural death.

Freshman and freshwoman are augmented by freshhom, though first-year remains acceptable for students along with first-term for lawmakers.

Frontman and frontwoman are augmented by fronthom, meaning a figurehead or lead.


Gadgette, a feminization of gadget, is a neologism used for a tech-focused and woman-targeted magazine. #IG

Gander, meaning a male goose. See goose. #A

Gander, meaning to look around, is not gendered in common usage so no change is suggested. #NG

Garbage man and garbage woman could be augmented by garbage hom, but garbage collector is also acceptable.

Generatrix is an ungendered mathematical term in current use. The gendered use, meaning mother, is obsolete. #NG (W)

Gentlemanly. See ladylike.

Gentlemen and gentlewomen / gentle ladies are augmented by gentlehoms if this usage is desired. See ladies.

Giant is neutral and giantess is obsolete.

Gigolo. See prostitute.

Girl and words with girl- as an affix. See boy and boy-. Only exceptions will be shown here.

Girlboss. See boss.

Girl Friday and boy Friday are be augmented by hem Friday.

Girlie, a condescending term of address, has no male or neutral term, and is declining in common usage, though it is sometimes used ironically as a neutral term. #Un

Girly, meaning appropriate for a girl, has no male or neutral term and is rapidly declining in common usage. #Un

God and goddess have godum (rare but existing) or deity as neutral terms, and god itself is nominally neutral. #Re (W) (W)

Godmother and godfather have godparent as the neutral term, though this obviously doesn’t apply to the movie. #Fa #Re

Godson and goddaughter have godchild as the neutral term. #Fa #Re

Goose (female) and gander (male) have goose as the neutral term for the species, making it the rare case where the feminine form is also the default. #A #Un

Governor is neutral and governess, generally referring to a female tutor or a woman with a lesser role than a governor, is obsolete. (W)

Grandmother and grandfather have grandparent as the neutral term. #Fa

Grandson and granddaughter have grandchild and grandkid neutral terms. #Fa

Groundsman and grounds woman have groundskeeper as a neutral term, with gardener and landscaper as contextually viable terms.

Guy and gal could be augmented by gomie, if you have a sense of humor and ignore Urban Dictionary, but homie is probably a better choice. See dude.


Handmaiden (handmaid), a female maid or maid servant, has servant as a neutral term. (W)

Handsome. See beautiful.

Handyman and handy woman are be augmented by handyhom. Inequivalent terms such as maintenance person or fixer are discouraged.

Harem / seraglio (a collection of females) and reverse harem (a collection of males) are augmented by harum, meaning a collection of multiple or unspecified genders.

Hautboy (a woodwind musical instrument), is not gendered. The suffix ‘boy,’ in this case, is a bastardization of the French word “bois” for wood. #NG

He and she are augmented by hu, the HGNE neutral singular nominative subject pronoun, which is preferred over they in the singular case. Like he and she, hu can be applied to animals and inanimate objects as appropriate.

Singular Plural
He is over there
She is over there
Hu is over there
It’s over there
They are over there

Headmaster and headmistress. See schoolmaster and master.

Heir is rapidly becoming the neutral term and heiress should be made obsolete, if only because the neutral term heirum is humorously confusing.

Helmsman and helmswoman are augmented by helmshom. #M

Hem is the HGNE neutral pronoun for a young person. Hems is the plural form.

Singular Plural
That boy is kind
That girl is kind
That hem is kind
Those boys are cruel
Those girls are cruel
Those hems are cruel

Heretrix. See heir and inheritor.

Hero is rapidly becoming the neutral term and heroine is becoming obsolete. (W)

Highboy (a high chest of drawers), is not gendered (boy in this case is a bastardization of the French word “bois” for wood). #NG

Himbo. See bimbo. #PI (W)

Himself and herself are augmented by humself.

History remains unchanged, as it is not a gendered term in common usage. The word has nothing to do with “his story” and thus “herstory” is a purely political neologism. For reference, Oxford Languages defines history’s origin as:

Old English istoria, from Latin, from Greek historia ‘inquiry, narrative, account’, from histōr ‘learned, wise man’, from an Indo-European root shared by wit; subsequently reinforced by French historie, histoire.

There is one gendered term in this definition (wise man), but that has no practical impact on how the word is used in modern English. All that is needed to make history neutral is to continue using it that way.

Him and her are augmented by hum, the neutral singular accusative object pronoun. Like him and her, hum can be applied to animals and inanimate objects as appropriate.

Hit lady is obsolete. See hitman.

Hitman and hitwoman are augmented by hithom, though assassin, contract killer, murderer and other terms can work in context. (W)

Hom is the HGNE neutral singular pronoun for an adult human being. This is derived from hominid (our primate family), and also alludes to the unifying prefix hum- in humanity. Homs is the plural form.

Singular Plural
That man is tall
That woman is tall
That hom is tall
Those men are short
Those women are short
Those homs are short

Homeboy and homegirl have homie as an existing neutral term.

Homecoming king and homecoming queen have homecoming sovrum or existing terms such as royals, sovereigns, etc. See king. #RT

Homie, pronounced like ‘home.’ See homeboy.

Homie, pronounced like ‘hominid,’ is used for a group comprised of any mix of genders. Alternative but awkward or regional terms include everyone, folks, peepspeople, thudes, y’all, etc. See dude.

Homm (hom + marriage) is the HGNE neutral term for husband or wife, as a word or affix. See midwife.

Horse is a neutral term for the species, with stallion and mare used in common speech to delineate gender, but this distinction isn’t technically correct. While a mare is any mature female horse, a stallion is only a mature male horse that has not been castrated. A castrated mature horse is a gelding, though a gelding can be of any age. A breeding stallion is a stud, and a successful stud is a sire. Young horses are foals, not ponies. So…there you go. #A (W)

Horseman and horse woman are augmented by horsehom and equestrian. (W)

Hospitalman and hospital woman are augmented by hospitalhom,

Host is becoming the neutral term and hostess should be made obsolete. If both forms persist, then they can be augmented by hostum.

Houseboy and housegirl are augmented by househem. (W)

Housemaid will soon be obsolete, but in the meantime, domestic or household cleaner are neutral options. See maid.

Housewife and house husband are augmented by househomm, though homemaker and stay-at-home-partner / parent also work. (W)

Hu is the HGNE neutral plural subject pronoun for a human being, animal or inanimate object (as appropriate). It is derived from (and pronounced like) humans in order to be unifying, non-gendered and humanist. They is the universal plural for this case.

Singular Plural
He went to the beach
She went to the beach
Hu went to the beach
They went to the beach

Hum is the HGNE neutral singular object pronoun for a human beings, animal or inanimate object (as appropriate). Them is the universal plural for this case.

Singular Plural
The car came to him
The car came to her
The car came to hum
The car came to it
The car came to them

Human is gender neutral, despite appearances and some arguments to the contrary; we simply need to use it that way. The same is true of humanity, humankind, humane, etc.

Hunter is neutral and huntress is obsolete except in fiction, or close.

Huntsman and huntswoman have hunter as a neutral term. (W)

Hus is the HGNE neutral singular possessive subject pronoun for a human being, animal or inanimate object. Their(s) is the universal plural for this case.

Singular Plural
The towel is his
The towel is hers
The towel is
The towel is its
That’s his towel
That’s her towel
That’s hus towel
That’s its towel
The towel is theirs


That’s their towel

Husband and wife are augmented by homm, (e.g., “This is my homm.”), and marital partner, spouse and significant other are also neutral. The affectionate version of this term is hommy, as in honey.

Husbandman and husbandwoman, meaning farmer, are largely obsolete. (W)

(Animal) Husbandry has ranching, farming and agronomy as neutral terms. #A (W)


Impotent should should be eliminated as synonym for powerless, and as a way for people to criticize men (e.g., you are impotent) as it is intrinsically gendered and hateful performance shaming. It should only be used by medical professionals discussing erectile dysfunction, as necessary, and then only in form ‘impotence’ (a condition) rather than ‘impotent’ (a state). The term powerless is gender-neutral and of equal familiarity. One could take the position that we simply need a female equivalent, but as there is no such existing term and the goal is not to create new forms of hate speech, this is discouraged. #PI (W)

-ine is a common feminizing suffix (e.g., hero / heroine). See -um and Wiktionary. (W)

Inheritor is neutral and inheritrix, heretrix and heritrix are obsolete.

Instrumentman and instrument woman are augmented by instrument-hom. #M

Insurance man and insurance woman are augmented by insurance hom or, more generally, insurance agent.


John Public / John Q. Public, meaning average man. See common man.

Journeyman and journeywoman are augmented by journeyhom, a reliable but unexceptional professional.

Juryman and jurywoman have juror as the existing neutral term. The neutral term for a jury foreman is jury forehom.


Khal and Khaleesi have Khalof as a neutral option for a fictional title. #RT

King and queen are augmented by sovrum and has no other exactly equivalent neutral term, though majesty, monarch and sovereign can be used as close approximations. Note that sovrum specifically means someone with a role of or equivalent to king or queen, while monarch and sovereign are far more broad and can be applied to almost any head of state. #RT (W)

Monarchs, as such, bear a variety of titles – king or queen, prince or princess (e.g., Sovereign Prince of Monaco), emperor or empress (e.g., Emperor of China, Emperor of Ethiopia, Emperor of Japan, Emperor of India), archduke, duke or grand duke (e.g., Grand Duke of Luxembourg), emir (e.g., Emir of Qatar), sultan (e.g., Sultan of Oman), or pharaoh. – Wikipedia

Kinsman and kinswoman are augmented by kinshom and have kin as an existing neutral term.

Knight (sir) and dame (dame) are challenging, because while knight is nominally gender neutral, it is often not in practise, and dame continues to be used and highly regarded as a term for a female knight and similar titles of honor. #RT #Un (W)

Knighthood and damehood. See knight. #RT

Known to man has known as a neutral term, though of course you can use known to hom just to be fancy.


Lad and lass have no neutral equivalent.

Ladette is obsolete. See lad.

Ladies and gentlemen are augmented by gentlehoms, meaning distinguished guests. Gentlehom is the singular form. Other terms of address such as distinguished guests, everyone, folks, friends, etc. are also acceptable. See gentlemen.

Lady boss is discouraged. Just use boss.

Lady doctor is discouraged. Just use doctor.

Ladylike and gentlemanly are increasingly archaic terms referring to the stereotypically ideal traits of civilized women or men, respectively. It’s not clear what a neutral term would mean. #Un

Lady [whatever] is discouraged as generally diminutive.

Laird and lady, owners of a Scottish estate, are augmented by lairdum. (W)

Landlord and landlady are augmented by landlordum. Owner should not be used, no matter what the UN said. See lord. (W)

Latino and Latina are augmented by latinum, consistent with this standard, though Latinx remains an option for those preferring the -x construction. See Mr.

Lawman and lawwoman are augmented by lawhom, a law-enforcement officer, marshal or sheriff. (W)

Layman and laywoman, meaning someone without professional training or knowledge, are augmented by layhom.

Layman and laywoman, meaning a member of the Catholic laity, can be augmented the same way (by layhom), if and as appropriate. (W)

Legalman and legal woman are augmented by legalhom or paralegal, as appropriate. #M

Leopard is neutral and leopardess is rare if not obsolete. #A (W)

Letterman, meaning a mail carrier. See mailman.

Letterman, meaning a high school or college athlete who has lettered (in the USA), is nominally gender neutral (letterwoman is rare) but can be augmented by letterhom. (W)

Lineman and line woman are augmented by linehom. #M

Linkboy and linkgirl are archaic terms for children that carry a torch, but if referenced in, say, historical fiction, the gender neutral term would be linkhem.

Lion is neutral when used collectively (“Why are those lions looking at us?”), neutral or masculine in the singular, while lioness is clearly female and increasingly popular as a sports team name. #A #Un (W)

Liveryman and livery woman are augmented by liveryhom, the owner or staff of a livery stable, who might specifically be grooms, stable hands, etc.

Longshoreman and longshorewoman are augmented by longshorehom, the neutral and collective term for dock workers. The use of the alternate but inequivalent term stevedore is discouraged, as it is disrespectful of those with differing skills, experience and roles (despite how it’s phrased on Wikipedia). (W)

Longshoremen refer exclusively to the dockworkers, while stevedores, are a separate trade union, worked on the ships, operating ships cranes and moving cargo. In usual present-day U.S. waterfront word usage, a stevedore typically owns equipment used in the loading or discharge operation. (USLegal.com)

Lord and lady are augmented by lardum. In some contexts, liege or regent might also be appropriate. #RT (W)

Lowboy (a chest of drawers with short legs) is not gendered. The suffix ‘boy,’ in this case, is a bastardization of the French word “bois” for wood. (W)

Lowerclassman is augmented by lowerclasshom, meaning a freshman or sophomore in most contexts (aka an underclassman). See upperclassman.

Lumberman / lumberjack and lumberwoman / lumberjill are augmented by lumberhom, but logger is the modern neutral term.


Maccaboy, a rose-scented snuff tobacco, is not gendered. #NG (W)

Madam / Ma’am, meaning a title of respect. See sir. (W)

Madam, meaning escort. See prostitute.

Madman and madwoman are augmented by madhom, though lunatic, maniac, psycho, psychopath and sociopath are also good options.

Maid / maidservant and manservant are augmented by homservant or servant. (W)

Maiden, meaning female virgin, is discouraged in all forms. See maid. (W)

Maiden flight is discouraged in place of first flight.

Maidenhead is discouraged. Just use hymen. There is no neutral term. (W)

Maiden name, the birth name of someone (a woman) who changed their name in marriage, has no exact male or neutral equivalent, as it rarely applies to men (historically). Birth name, family name and given name all refer to the original name without implication of change at the time of marriage, so it’s best to use these terms and obsolete maiden name. (W)

Maiden voyage is discouraged in place of first voyage.

Maiden [whatever] is discouraged in place of first [whatever].

Mailman and mailwoman are augmented by mailhom or mail carrier. Postal worker is not an equivalent term.

Maintenanceman and maintenance woman are augmented by maintenance hom or maintenance person. Janitor is not an equivalent term.

Male and female are augmented by hom, a human being of unspecified sex.

Male model is discouraged except as clarification. Just use model.

Male nurse is discouraged except as clarification, and nurse should be used until another option is found, if it is.

Male [whatever] is discouraged except as clarification.

Man and woman are augmented by hom, an adult human of unspecified gender. The term enby refers to people who are specifically non-binary and is not a collective or neutral term.

To man, meaning to staff or to crew (as on manned missions) has the preceding gender-neutral options. (W)

Manager is neutral and manageress is obsolete.

Man-at-arms and woman-at-arms are archaic, but can be augmented by hom-at-arms. Soldier is a more contemporary term. #M (W)

Maneater, meaning a dangerous and seductive woman, does not appear to have a male or neutral form. See femme fatale. #IG

Man friend and woman friend are augmented by hom friend or…friend.

Manhandle and womanhandle augmented by homhandle, but it’s preferable to use beat, brutalize, handle roughly or other equivalent terms and work on obsoleting the gendered terms. Note that womanhandle can also mean to treat gently, rather than roughly, and is thus a contranym. (W)

Manhole should be replaced by homhole or maintenance hole.

Manhood and womanhood have adulthood as a neutral if not perfectly equivalent term. Homhood can also be used if the meaning is clarified.

Man-hour is augmented by hom-hour, human-hour or staff-hour. (W)

Manhunt and womanhunt are augmented by homhunt, the hunt or search for someone on the run.

Mankind and womankind are augmented by homkind or humankind.

Manlike and womanlike. See manly.

Manly and womanly, meaning possessed of stereotypically ‘positive’ attributes for a given gender (e.g., big and muscular for men, petite and lithe for women), has nave no neutral term. Homly, while technically in compliance with HGNE, sounds too much like homely and has no clear meaning. #Un (W) (W)

Man-made and woman-made are augmented by hom-made, meaning made by human beings. Inequivalent terms such as artificial, synthetic or machine-made should not be used. Man-made prehistoric tools, for instance, are clearly not artificial, synthetic or machine-made.

Manned, meaning crewed or staffed. See to man.

Man of letters and woman of letters are augmented by hom of letters, intellectual or scholar, an educated or literary person. (W)

Man of the world and woman of the world are augmented by hom of the world, sophisticate or scholar, a well-traveled and worldly person.

Man on the street is augmented by hom on the street, average person or layhom (See layman), meaning a regular human being.

Manpower and womanpower are augmented and by hompower. Alternate terms include labor and workforce.

Manservant and woman servant have servant as the neutral term.

Manslaughter and womanslaughter (rare) are augmented by homslaughter, a killing without intent or premeditation; however, manslaughter is also a legal term and it’s likely neutral usage will take substantial time to become common, requiring changes in written law, regulations and more. (W)

Mansplain and womansplain / femsplain could be augmented by homsplain, to condescend to someone for reasons implicitly related to and disrespectful of their gender, but this is more a political than linguistic decision. #IG #PI (W)

Manspread and other intentionally gendered pejoratives will be addressed in future updates to this glossary. #IG #Pe #PI

Marksman and markswoman are augmented by markshom, sharpshooter or sniper. (W)

Master, in most contexts is gender neutral (e.g., master of ceremonies, grandmaster). (W)

Master, meaning head of, is gendered in origin and contextually discouraged due to its association with the slave trade (hence, why a master bedroom is now a bedroom en suite), but continues to be used in many contexts. #IG #Un

Marquess / margrave / marquis and marchioness are augmented by marcum or marqum. #RT

Master and mistress have mastrum as a neutral term. See mistress.

Master’s, meaning a graduate college degree, is gender neutral.

Masturbator is neutral and masturbatrix is rare in common usage.

Maternal and paternal have parental as the neutral term.

Matriarchy. See patriarchy. (W)

Matron, meaning a married woman, a female prison officer, or a woman in charge of domestic arrangements, is archaic, has no neutral equivalent and is not equivalent to any form of the masculine patron. Ongoing use is discouraged. See governor (governess). (W)

Matron, meaning chief nurse in a hospital, is still used in the UK for both women and men. Perhaps a more neutral term could be used in the future. (W)

Matronly, meaning a largely obsolete or discouraged term for a conservatively dressed and slightly plump older woman. Dad bod might be the closest male equivalent. There is no neutral term. See Wiktionary.

Mayor is neutral and mayoress is obsolete. (W)

Mediator is neutral and mediatrix is obsolete except in reference to the Virgin Mary, who is intrinsically gendered. #Re (W)

Medicine man and medicine woman are augmented by medicine hom, traditional healer or witch doctor. #Re (W)

Mensch, a good person, is gender neutral despite appearances. #NG (W)

Middleman and middle woman have broker, go-between, or intermediary as neutral terms, somewhat depending on context, though middlehom remains an option. Mediator and negotiator might also work. (W)

Midwife and midhusband (accoucheur) have midhomm as the neutral term, though in practise midwife is already neutral. The term comes from an Old English term meaning, “with the woman” so in that sense it’s not gendered, though of course that implies wife itself is not a gendered term. #Fa (W)

Mineman and mine woman are augmented by minehom. #M

M’lady is pending. #Pe

Monk and nun have no neutral equivalent given the gendered religious roles, at least in the west, so this is currently not addressed. #Un #Re (W)

Mistress, meaning the female head of a household or organization. See master.

Mistress, meaning a female lover who is not the wife, has no male or neutral equivalent, though adulterer would suffice in some cases. See concubine. (W)

Mother and father have parent as the neutral term.

Mother country and father country have homeland as a neutral term.

Mother Earth is unnecessarily gendered and should be, simply, Earth.

Motherland and Fatherland have homeland as a neutral term.

Motherly has nurturing as a neutral option, but the choice of usage is more political than grammatical. Fatherly is the approximate male equivalent, with parental as a less-specific neutral term.

Mother Nature is unnecessarily gendered and should be, simply, nature, except when explicitly talking about the deity. See Father Time.

Mother tongue is discouraged in place of first language or native language.

Mr. and Ms. / Miss / Mrs. / Mx. are augmented by Mu. Note that M. and Ind. (individual) have also been suggested as neutral forms, though M. (Monsieur) is masculine in French. Other littled-used offerings include Mre. (mystery), Msr. and Per (person).

Mu. is the singular neutral HGNE title for an adult human being, with Mx. as another option that might be a primarily queer term. See Mr. and Latino.

Singular Plural
That is Mr. Smith
That is Ms. Smith
That is Mrs. Smith (married)
That is Miss. Smith (unmarried)
That is Mu. Smith
This is Mx. Smith (queer?)
Those are the Smiths

Muscleman and muscle woman have musclehom as a neutral term.

Murse. See Nurse.

Mx. See Mu. (W)


Nature. See mother nature.

Niece and nephew have nibling (the niece/nephew + sibling) as an increasingly accepted neutral term, along with the less popular sibkid.

Newsboy and newsgirl are augmented by newshem, though both are as archaic as news itself. Newsie might also be a viable neutral term.

Newsman and newswoman are augmented by newshom or reporter.

Newspaperboy and newspapergirl are augmented by newspaperhem.

Newspaperman and newspaper woman are augmented by newspaperhom, but editor, journalist, reporter and other titles can be used depending on role.

Nurse remains unresolved, as it describes a profession where many men are nurses, or murses, but there isn’t a great neutral term (yet). #Un (W)


Odd man out and odd woman out are augmented by odd hom out or odd one out.

Office mom, a woman doing uncompensated but beneficial office work or providing related emotional support, is complemented by office dad as a male term and office parent as neutral one.

Ogre and ogress are augmented by ogrum, but it’s prob able ogre will become neutral over time. (W)

Ombudsman and ombudswoman are augmented by ombudshom, a public advocate. (W)

One-upmanship is augmented by one-uphomship or competitiveness.

Opticalman and optical woman are augmented by opticalhom. #M

Orator is neutral and oratress and oratrix are obsolete.

Ordinanceman and ordinance woman are augmented by ordinancehom. #M

Outdoorsman and outdoorswoman are augmented by outdoorshom.


Pageboy and pagegirl are augmented by pagehem or page.

Paperboy and papergirl are augmented by paperhem.

Paternal and maternal have parental as the neutral term.

Patriarchy and matriarchy, two gender-defined power structures, have no existing gender-neutral equivalent. Parriarchy has been suggested for a society in which men and women have equal power, but this is less a neutral description of a power structure than an alternative. For now, homtriarchy can be used to mean an power structure in which influence is distributed anywhere on a gendered spectrum. #Un

Patrolman and patrolwoman are augmented by patrolhom or patrol officer.

Patron, meaning customer or sponsor, as a default and neutral term replaces both patron as a male-only term and patroness (not matron) as the female term. Patron should be redefined to exclude male-only usage, and patroness made obsolete.

Patronize, meaning to frequent as a customer, is not equivalent to matronize.

Patronize, meaning to condescend, is also not equivalent to matronize.

Peer and peeress, meaning members of the peerage, are still used as formal gendered terms in some countries, and are augmented by peerum. #RT (W)

Peer, meaning an equal, is gender neutral and peeress is obsolete in this context. (W)

Personnelman and personnel woman are augmented by personnelhom. #M

Philosopher is neutral and philosopheress is obsolete.

Plainclothesman and plainclothes woman can be augmented by plainclotheshom, but plainclothes officer remains the preferred neutral term.

Playboy and playgirl are augmented by playhem.

Plowboy and plowgirl are augmented by plowhem.

Poboy (poor boy), a type of sandwich, is gendered but anyone can eat one, and you should. #IG (W)

Poet is neutral and poetess is obsolete.

Policeman and policewoman can be augmented by policehom or (preferably) police officer.

Porter is neutral and porteress is obsolete.

Postboy and postgirl are augmented by posthem.

Potboy and potgirl are augmented by pothem.

Powerless. See impotent.

Pressman and press woman are augmented by presshom, which means a columnist, journalist, press operator, newsman or reporter, and is thus immediately archaic.

Pretty. See beautiful.

Priest and priestess are augmented by priestum, though priest is increasingly used as a neutral term. Ideally, priest will become the only word and priestess will be obsoleted along with priestum. #Re (W)

Prince and princess are augmented by princem or princum (the c is pronounced like an s), while princex is used for a specifically non-binary prince. #RT (W) (W)

Prior and prioress are augmented by priorum. #Re (W)

Prophet is neutral and prophetess is obsolete. #Re

Prostitute and gigolo have escort as the neutral term.

Pythoness (Pythia), a female oracle of Delphi (once called Python), also meaning a soothsayer or witch, has no neutral equivalent other than the more general term, oracle. #Re (W)


Queen. See king. #RT

Queen consort and prince consort (not king consort) have the neutral if less specific term, consort. #RT (W)


Radarman and radar woman are augmented by radarhom. #M

Radioman and radio woman are augmented by radiohom. #M

Rector is neutral and rectrix is obsolete. #Re

Reman, to resupply with new personnel, has recrew and restaff as neutral terms. See Wiktionary and to man.

Repairman and repairwoman are augmented by repairhom. #M

Rifleman and riflewoman are augmented by riflehom. #M


Salesman and saleswoman are augmented by saleshom or salesperson.

Schoolboy and schoolgirl are augmented by schoolhem or student.

Schoolgirlish is a nearly obsolete term for immature, puerile or silly. See girlish.

Schoolmaster and mistress. See headmaster and master. (W)

Sculptor is neutral and sculptress is obsolete.

Seaman and seawoman, meaning sailor, are augmented by seahom, mariner and seafarer. #M (W)

Seamstress / semptress and sempster are obsolete terms for dressmakers or tailors or, more generally, people who sew. (W)

Seducer is nominally neutral, but seductress is more common and is unlikely to fall out of favor anytime soon. (W)

Self-made man and self-made woman are augmented by self-made hom. Entrepreneur and tycoon are not equivalent terms.

Servant. See manservant. (W)

Server. See waiter.

Serviceman and servicewoman, meaning soldier, are augmented by servicehom. #M

Serviceman and servicewoman, meaning technician, are augmented by servicehom, mechanic and other neutral options.

She- is a rare feminizing prefix (e.g., male / shemale). See Wiktionary.

Shemale / she-man / he-she, referring to trans women, are discouraged, and there is no neutral term for obvious reasons. #IG (W)

Shepherder is neutral and shepherdess is obsolete. #A

Shopboy and shopgirl are augmented by shophem, though both are archaic.

Sibling (sib). See brother. (W)

Signalman and signal woman are augmented by signalhom. #M

Singer and songwriter are neutral and songstress is obsolete.

Sir and Ma’am / Madam, a polite means of address, are augmented by gentlehom. See Ladies.

Sir, meaning a knight in the UK. See knight. (W) #RT

Siren is gender neutral, though predominantly used for females. (W)

Son and daughter have child as the neutral term.

Sorcerer is neutral and sorceress is obsolete. (W)

Spaceman and space woman are augmented by spacehom or astronaut. Cosmonaut is not equivalent unless you’re Russian, but rocketeer can be used if the context is clear. (W)

Speaker is neutral and speakerine is obsolete.

Spinster, an unmarried woman, is obsolete. See bachelor. (W)

Spokesman and spokeswoman are augmented by spokeshom, but spokesperson is also acceptable.

Sportsman and sportswoman are augmented by sportshom, and have athlete, competitor, player and other neutral terms.

Sportsmanlike is augmented by sportshomlike, and has ethical, fair, just, honest and other neutral terms.

Squire is neutral and squiress is obsolete. (W)

Stableboy and stablegirl are augmented by stablehem. #A

Stallion, meaning an uncastrated male horse. See horse. (W) #A

Stallion, meaning a sexually prolific man, has no neutral equivalent.

Statesman and stateswoman have stateshom, diplomat or politician as neutral terms, depending on usage. (W)

Stemette is a neologism used for a STEM-focused women’s organization. #IG

Steward and stewardess, meaning a ship’s crew, are augmented by stewardum, though steward might become neutral over time.

Steward and stewardess, meaning airline staff, are increasingly obsolete and being replaced by flight attendant.

Steward in most other contexts is neutral (e.g., ‘Lilith is the Steward of Gondor’). (W)

Stud, meaning an uncastrated and breeding stallion or other breeding animal including sometimes a (female) broodmare or studmare. See horse. (W)

Stud and studette have studum as a silly neutral term, meaning an attractive or sexually prolific person, but hopefully stud will become the neutral default over time. See Wiktionary.

Stud, meaning an awesome person, is neutral, though studette is sometimes used.

Stuntman and stuntwoman are augmented by stunthom.

Suffragette has no male or neutral equivalent. #IG (W)


Tallboy, a high-stemmed glass, is etymologically gendered but there is no female equivalent or apparent need for a neutral alternative. #NG

Temptress and tempter are augmented temptum, a tempting or seductive person. (W)

Testator is neutral and testatrix is obsolete.

Their(s) is a possessive singular or plural gender-neutral pronoun.

Them, as a singular or plural third-person personal pronoun, is gender neutral. (W)

They, as a plural pronoun, is gender neutral and awesome.

They, as a singular pronoun is increasingly popular but still sometimes problematic, and HGNE standard prefers hu in the singular case (he / she / hu), though this does not necessarily apply to personal pronoun preferences.

Tiger is neutral when used collectively (“Look at all the tigers!”), and neutral or masculine in the singular, while tigress is clearly female. #A #Un

Titan is neutral and titaness is obsolete.

Tomboy (or sisu girl) and tom girl have no neutral equivalent, as they imply one gender’s adaptation of another’s stereotypical traits. See tomboy and tomgirl on Wikipedia.

Torpedoman and torpedo woman are augmented by torpedohom. #M

Tortrix is a genus of moths, so, not what you might think. (W)

Toxic masculinity and toxic femininity are grammatically if not politically equivalent, and toxic humanity is theoretically neutral. #PI (W)

Tradesman and trades woman are augmented by tradeshom, though merchant can work in some contexts.

Traitor is neutral and traitoress and traitress (among others) are obsolete. (W)

Triggerman and triggerwoman are augmented by triggerhom, though shooter is often equivalent.

-trix is a common feminizing suffix (e.g.,  aviator / aviatrix). See -um and Wiktionary.

Tutor is neutral and tutoress is obsolete. See governess.


-um is the default HGNE gender-neutral suffix for words gendered by suffixes other than –man / -woman or –boy / -girl, including all feminizing suffixes (e.g., -ette) The plural is -ums.

Uncle. See aunt. #Fa

Undergraduate is neutral and undergraduette is obsolete.

Un- is a negation prefix for many words (e.g., Manned / Unmmanned). Only a few examples, and cases where the un- version is dominant, are shown here.

Undermanned has understaffed and shorthanded as neutral terms. See manned. (W)

Unladylike, meaning coarse or manly. See ladylike.

Underclassman is augmented by underclasshom, meaning a freshman or sophomore in most contexts (aka a lowerclassman). See upperclassman.

Unmanly, generally meaning feminine, is often an insult directed at men and is discouraged. See manly. #PI

Unmanned, meaning emasculated, has unwomaned as a rarely used rough equivalent, but no existing neutral term. If desired, you could use unhomed to mean ‘stripped of stereotypical sexual or gender qualities.’ (W)

Unmanned, meaning automated or crewless, has uncrewed as a neutral term. See manned. (W)

Upperclassman is augmented by upperclasshom, meaning a junior or senior in most contexts. See lowerclassman and underclassman.

Usher is neutral and usherette is obsolete. (W)

Usurper is neutral and usurpess is obsolete.

Utilitiesman and utilities woman are augmented by utilitieshom. #M


Vamp, meaning a dangerous and seductive woman, does not appear to have a male or neutral form. See femme fatale. #IG (W)

Vamp, meaning related to or like a vampire, is gender neutral.

Varietist and adventuress are obsolete terms referring to male and female sexual explorers. See adventurer. (W)

Vendor is neutral and vendress is obsolete.

Vicar is a priestly role increasingly occupied by women as well as men, and the word is allegedly neutral, while vicaress has an overlapping but different set of meanings. #Re #Un (W) (W)

Victor is neutral and victress is obsolete.

Villain is neutral and vaillainess is obsolete, or should be.

Virginity and being a virgin are often cherished in women more than men (See maiden), but the words remain neutral in modern usage. (W)

Viscount and viscountess are augmented by viscountum. See count. #RT

Votary is neutral and votaress is obsolete.

Voter is neutral and votress is obsolete.


Waiter and waitress can be augmented by waitrum, though server appears to be the preferred term in North America. Less desirable options include waitron and waitstaff, both of which are slightly dehumanizing.

Warder, a prison officer, is neutral if archaic and wardress is obsolete.

Warlock is generally a male magician, sorcerer or witch, but is neutral in some contexts. #IG (W)

Watchman and watch woman are augmented by watchhom, someone providing law enforcement services. (W)

Weaponsman and weapons woman are augmented by weaponshom. #M

Weatherman and weatherwoman are augmented by weatherhom, the neutral term for weather people. Weather forecaster and weather presenter are also acceptable, if wordier. Use of alternate but inequivalent titles such as meteorologist is discouraged, as training and requirements for weather people and meteorologists are usually quite different—though of course some weatherhoms are also meteorologists.

A meteorologist is a scientist who studies and works in the field of meteorology aiming to understand or predict Earth’s atmospheric phenomena including the weather… Meteorologists work in government agencies, private consulting and research services, industrial enterprises, utilities, radio and television stations, and in education. They are not to be confused with weather presenters, who present the weather forecast in the media and range in training from journalists having just minimal training in meteorology to full-fledged meteorologists. – Wikipedia

Wiccan gender neutral even if Wicca beliefs and practises skew female in modern usage. #Re (W)

Widow and widower are augmented by widowum, someone who has lost a spouse. (W)

Witch is a gender neutral term for a practitioner of witchcraft, a magician or sorcerer, even if used more frequently for women. See warlock and wizard. (W)

Witch doctor is gender neutral.

Wizard is a gender neutral term for a magician, sorcerer or witch, but skews male in usage. (W)

Woman, an adult female human being. See girl and man. (W)

Woman- is often a prefix, but in most such cases man- is the default version (like it or not) so most words prefixed by man or woman are listed in the Ms. Only exceptions are shown here.

Womaned is pending. #Pe

Womanhood. See manhood.

Womanish and manish, pejorative references to the opposite gender, are discouraged. See Manly. #PI

Womanism does not appear to have or need a male or neutral term (whatever you may think of the word). See feminism. #IG (W)

Womanist theory, while diverse, holds at its core that mainstream feminism is a movement led by white women to serve white women’s goals and can often be indifferent to, or even in opposition to, the needs of Black women. – Wikipedia.

Womanize and manize, meaning to seduce. See womanizer.

Womanize and manize, meaning to make like a woman or man, has no neutral term.

Womanizer and manizer, meaning seducer (seductress), are augmented by homizer in US English. Womaniser and maniser are augmented by homiser in UK English. (W)

Womanless and manless, lacking a woman or man, has no neutral term.

Womanlike / womanly. See manly.

Womanness, the quality or character of being a woman, is pending. #Pe

Working man and working woman are augmented by working hom, though breadwinner is sometimes equivalent.

Working mother and working father have working parent as the neutral term.

Workman and workwoman have workhom or worker as neutral terms.

Workmanship is augmented by workhomshop, meaning the character or quality of work or a high level of skillfulness or proficiency applied to that work. (W)


Nothing to see here.


Yeoman and yeowoman are augmented by yeohom, and yeomanette is obsolete. #M (W)

Young man and young lady have young hom as a neutral term.


Zzz. Hey! Wake up!

My Word is Missing!

In the interest of brevity (believe it or not), I’ve intentionally excluded many if not most words that are gendered by the word “man” as an affix because there are just to freaking many of them (thousands), and that’s fine. In the HGNE standard, you can always make a word neutral by replacing man or woman with hom. Only relative common man words are included.

I have, however, tried to include most words affixed by boy, girl or woman (if man is not the more common affix), in addition to many with the common feminizing suffixes (e.g., -trix), but it’s possible some were missed. No, I guarantee some were missed.

If you feel like a word is missing that should be included, let me know in the comments, below.

Hey, That’s Not Right!

If you find errors, omissions, or other things worthy of discussion, please tell me.

Selected Sources

A very limited set of sources for your reading pleasure.

A Gender Agenda (AGA), “Language” for one of several lists of neutral and queer terms.

Glossophilia, “The Out of Date Female -ess” for great commentary and unusual -ess words, many (but not all) of which can be found in this glossary. Some very unusual words were left out for brevity, believe it or not.

The Guardian, “Eight words that reveal the sexism at the heart of the English language.”

Kathy Steinemann, “900+ Gender-Neutral Terms: A Word List for Writers” for a lot of good suggestions.

Language: A Feminist Guide,Ette-ymology” for a fantastic commentary on -ette usage and origins.

Terminology Coordination, “Male and Female Animal Names,” for many more terms than are included here.

Tumblr, “Gender Neutral / Queer Titles,” a good collection of terms including which are neutral vs. queer. The list is useful and extensive if not authoritative, and demonstrates how difficult it is to come up with definitively neutral terms in many cases.

Wikipedia, “Gender Marking in Job Titles,” for obvious reasons.

Wikipedia, “List of United States Naval Ratings,” many of which are archaic, but are included here just in case. See many listings with an #M.

Glossary Guidelines

These are some of the parameters I try to apply for entries in this glossary, in addition to the basic rules of HGNE.

Apolitical (As Possible)

Words are not included or excluded due to pressure from the right or left. The goal of HGNE is to improve the technology that is our language by including a new feature, gender neutrality, as an option or, where it is cleaner, the default. Thus, we reject things like needlessly gendering “history” or “humanity” (coming from the left) or the claim that gender neutrality is “politically correct” or “woke” (coming from the right). You can believe there seventeen genders or merely two, still know that “his or her” is awkward and annoying. Our goal is to improve the English language for everyone, period.

Representative Sampling vs. Comprehensiveness

Due to the nature of the HGNE standard, there is no need to fumble through every word with man or woman, boy or girl in it. You can always replace those terms with hom or hem. Discussion is generally reserved for terms where there are many possible options, where the word is relatively common, or when the word appears on other lists and thus needs to be addressed.

Gender neutral vs. Queer

For both consistency and to avoid appropriation, this standard is careful not to use queer (LGBTQ+) words or phrases as gender neutral terms. So, for instance, auncle might seem like a good gender-neutral option for aunt/uncle, but it has another meaning in the queer community.

Incorrect or Imprecise Neutral Replacements

Where possible, these are called out in orange or red, and are ‘discouraged.’

Misleadingly Gendered Word Parts

The word-part man, men, his, and her are often not gendered in any way despite appearances, and the HGNE standard rejects changes to words based on appearance alone. So, for instance, manual has man in it, but manual transmissions aren’t just for men. History is not just ‘his story,’ though it’s a clever take. Menstruation is not intrinsically male. Herpetologists don’t just study lady frogs, and so on. Only actually gendered words are augmented or addressed in this glossary or standard, unless there is a public perception that the word is gendered. See #NG.

Profanity, Insults and Hate Speech

There are obviously many gendered and profane, pejorative or hateful words, but this is not urban dictionary. Discussion is limited to incredibly common terms where gender neutrality might be relevant. See #PI for terms that do appear here.

Related Stuff

If you have any questions, comments or criticisms, please let me know in the comments below. All civilized input welcome. Second, if you agree this new humanist gender neutral and inclusive English can be useful, promote it. Put it in practice. Send others here to learn and engage. And thank you.


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