Gender-Neutral Equivalent Words


Gender-Neutral Words and Terms
As English speaking Western cultures and societies have evolved over the past few decades, the use of gender-specific language has (is becoming) a thing of the past. Although the extent of this may still vary from country, it is now becoming more common and acceptable to use gender-neutral terms when writing and speaking in English.

Following is a list of gender-specific words/terms with their recommended gender-neutral equivalents. The words/terms that I have included on the list are what I consider to be the most frequently encountered in day-to-day writing and speaking.

Instead of this...
actress
airline stewardess
airman, airwoman
alderman
alumna, alumnus
anchorman, anchorwoman
assemblyman
bagboy
blind man
bondsman
boss man, boss lady
brakeman (bobsled)
brakeman (train)
brethren
brew master
bridesmaid
brotherhood
brotherly
brotherly love
bus boy, bus girl
businessman, businesswoman
cabin boy
cameraman, camerawoman
career woman
cattlemen
cavemen
chairman, chairwoman
chambermaid
choir boy, choir girl
chorus girl, chorus boy
city fathers
clergy men, clergy women
coed
comedienne
common man
conductress
confidence man
congressman
contact man
copy boy, copy girl
councilman
countryman
cowboy, cowgirl
craftsman
crewman
dairyman
deliveryman
doorman
drum majorette
Dutchman
elder statesman
Englishman
enlisted man
fall guy
fatherhood
fraternal twins
fatherland
favorite son
fighting man
fireman
flagman
floor man
flyboy
forefathers
foreman, forewoman, forelady
founding father
Frenchmen
freshman
frog man
front man
funnyman
gamesmanship
gateman
gentlemen's agreement
girl Friday
goddess
governess
grandfather clause
guardsman
gunman
handyman
headman
headmaster
heiress
helmsman
henchman
heroine
horseman, horsewoman
hostess
housewife
idea man
infantryman
inside man
insurance man
Irishmen
jack-of-all-trades
jazz man
John Q. Public
johnny-come-lately
johnny-on-the-spot
journeyman
juryman
key man
king's ransom
king-size
layman
learned man
legman
letterman
lineman
longshoreman
lookout man
lumberjack
maid
maid-of-honor
maiden
maiden name
mailman
maintenance man
majorette
male nurse
man about town
man among men
man of action
man of distinction
man of letters
man of the year
man on the street
man (verb: to man)
man's best friend
man's work
man-sized
man-to-man
manageress
man-eater
manhandle
manhole
man-hours
mankind
manlike
manmade
manpower
man of the house
marked man
marksman
masculine
masseuse
master
master key
master plan
masterful
masterpiece
master's degree
matron of honor
mechanical man
medicine man
men working
meter maid
middleman
midshipman
Miss
modern man
mother country
Mother Earth
mother lode
Mother Nature
mother tongue
motherhood
Mrs.
murderess
newsboy
newsman
newspaperman
night watchman
no-man's-land
nobleman
Norseman
number-one-man
number-two-man
oarsman
odd-man-out
office boy
oilman
old wives' tale
organization man
outdoorsman
paperboy
patrolman
penmanship
pitchman
playboy, playgirl
postman
postmistress
prehistoric man
pressman
priestess
prodigal son
publicity man
radioman
ranchman
Renaissance man
repairman
rifleman
right-hand man
salesman, saleslady
Scotsman
sculptress
seaman
seamstress
seductress
serviceman
serviceman
shipmaster
showman
showmanship
signalman
sister ship
snowman
song-and-dance-man
songstress
sorceress
spaceman
spokesman, spokeswoman
sportsmanlike
starlet
statesman
stewardess
straw man
switchman
taskmaster
temptress
to a man
toastmaster, toastmistress
trash man
tribesman
triggerman
Uncle Sam
usherette
waitress
watchman
weak sister
weatherman
Welshman
workman
workmanlike
workmen's compensation
yes-man
young man

Use this...
actor
flight attendant
pilot, aviator, flier, flight crew
council member/person
graduates, alums
anchor
assemblyperson
bagger, assistant, caddy
blind person
bondsperson, guarantor, insurer
boss, supervisor
brake operator
conductor's assistant
laity
brew director, chief/head brewer
bride's attendant
fellowship, camaraderie
kind, helpful
charity, goodwill
server's helper, table attendant
businessperson
cabin attendant
camera operator
career professional
cattle owners
cave dwellers, cave people
chair person, chair
housekeeper
choir member
chorus singer, chorus member
city leaders
clergy, clerics, ministers, pastors, etc.
student
comedian, entertainer
average person, commoner
conductor
swindler, crook
member of congress, congress person
contact person, contact
copy clerk
council member
compatriot
cowhand
artisan, craftsperson
crew member
dairy farmer
deliverer, delivery clerk, courier
doorkeeper, door attendant
drum major
Dutch person
senior statesperson
Englander, Briton
enlistee, soldier, recruit
scapegoat
parenthood
non-identical twins
homeland
favorite candidate
fighter, soldier
firefighter
flagger
floorwalker, duty person
pilot, aviator
ancestors, forebears
supervisor, boss
founder
the French, French people
first year students, undergrads
diver
representative, intermediary
comedian
game playing
gate keeper, gate attendant
unwritten agreement
aide, assistant
god
child caretaker, child care worker, nurse
pre-existing condition
guard, soldier
shooter, killer, assassin
fixer, maintenance person
boss, chief, president, leader
principal
heir
coxswain
partner in crime
hero
rider, equestrian
host
homemaker
idea person, creator
infantry soldier
insider
insurance agent
Irish people
handyperson
jazz player, jazz musician
the public
newcomer
prompt person, right-on-time
experienced tradesperson
juror, jury person
key person
valuable
huge, very large
layperson
learned person
runner, messenger
achiever, award winning athlete
line technician, football player
stevedore
lookout
logger, forester
house cleaner
honored attendant
first, untried
family name, birth name
letter carrier, mail carrier
janitor, caretaker
drum major
nurse
bon vivant, mover and shaker
outstanding person
go-getter, human dynamo
person of distinction
scholar, academic
newsmaker of the year
average person, ordinary citizen
operate, staff
dog
work, hard work
large
head-to-head, face-to-face
manager
flesh eater
rough up, move roughly
utility access hole, maintenance hole
work hours
humankind, humanity
humanlike
hand made, hand built, manufactured
workers, workforce, staff
husband, father
targeted person, fingered
sharpshooter
male
massage therapist
expert
passkey
main plan, primary plan
skillful, expert
great work of art
graduate degree
honored attendant
robot
spirit healer, faith healer
people working
parking enforcement officer
go-between, intermediary
sailor, cadet
Ms.
modern people
homeland
earth, world, planet earth
main vein
nature
first language, native language
parenthood
Ms.
murderer
paper carrier, news deliverer
reporter, newscaster
reporter, journalist, editor, writer
night security guard
uninhabited land, neutral zone
noble person
Norse person
head, chief, leader
second in command
rower, crew member
person not included
messenger, clerk
oil executive, oil field worker
superstition
team player, loyal company person
outdoors person
paper carrier
police officer
handwriting
promoter, ad man
pleasure seeker, partier, carouser
letter carrier
postal worker
prehistoric person
press operator
priest
returning child
publicist
radio broadcaster
rancher
Renaissance person
repairer, maintenance specialist
shooter, sharpshooter
main assistant
sales person, sales associate/agent
Scot
sculptor
sailor, mariner, sea farer
tailor, sewer, mender, needleworker
seducer
sailor, soldier, airman
repair person, maintenance person
captain, commander
actor, performer, entertainer
stage presence
signaler, signal operator
partner ship
snow person
singer and dancer
singer
sorcerer, enchanter
astronaut
spokesperson
sporting, sporty
star young actor
leader, senior politician, diplomat
flight attendant
test theory
switch operator
supervisor, tyrant
tempter, enticer
to a person
toast maker
trash collector
tribe member
shooter, assassin
U.S., United States
usher
server
security guard, lookout guard
weak, cowardly
weathercaster, meteorologist
Welsh person
worker
skillful, efficient
workers' compensation
avid follower, supporter
youth, teenager


The above list is not exhaustive, although I did try to compile the most complete list of gender- neutral equivalents that I could when I researched and wrote this page.

If you think of other commonly used gender specific terms and/or their gender-neutral equivalents that I have missed, please let me know by e-mail via the "Contact" link at the bottom of this page so I can eventually add them here.


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