• Thon first appeared in the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary in 1961. (Merriam-Webster)Source: Merriam-Webster
Thon is believed to be a contraction of 'that one' and was promoted in crossword puzzles and cartoons.
Michaela Morgan

17 Mar 2017 - 11:09 AM  UPDATED 17 Mar 2017 - 11:09 AM

Merriam-Webster first included the gender neutral pronoun thon in its unabridged dictionary in 1934.

Thon is believed to be a contracted version of ‘that one’ and was coined by inventor and composer, Charles Crozat Converse.

It was first included by the editors at American dictionary Funk and Wagnalls in 1903 with the definition: ‘Pronoun of the 3rd person, common gender, meaning “that one, he she, or it’.

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But thon just never made its way into common usage, despite the best efforts of linguists, newspaper editors and even cartoonists.

“People really wanted thon to work out; the word was used in crossword puzzles for several decades, generally as the answer to the clue of “proposed genderless pronoun,” a Merriam-Webster article reports.  

“It was poked at and analyzed by linguists. The cartoonist Ryan North even devoted one of his marvelous Dinosaur Comics strips to the topic of thon.”

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While thon was removed from the dictionary in 1961 due to lack of use, Merriam-Webster has been a firm ally of the LGBT+ community in recent years—committed to adding new queer terms to its pages:

 Merriam Webster has also been active in throwing shade at the Trump administration on Twitter: