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Description[]

Ze zir

ze/zir flag by tumblr user madotsukisdump

Ze/zir neopronouns are gender neutral pronouns and can be used by anyone regardless of gender identity or expression. Ze is pronounced the same way as xe. It was likely based on the German plural 3rd person pronoun sie.

Case Pronoun Example
Nominative
Ze Ze went to the store
Accusative
Zir I met zir today
Pronominal Possessive
Zir Ze walked zir dog today
Predicative Possessive
Zirs If I need a phone my friend will let me borrow zirs
Reflexive
Zirself Ze had to drive zirself to school

Origin[]

There are examples of ze being used since 1864, becoming more popular in the 1980s or 1990s with growing use since[1]. Ze/hir is used in Caitlin Sullivan and Kate Bornstein’s book, Nearly Roadkill, in 1996[2]. In 1997 Richard Creel proposed ze/zer/mer (taken from the last letter of him and first of her)[3]. He did not give the reflexive form.

Kate Bornstein created another version in the 1998 book My Gender Workbook[4]. This version uses ze (sometimes zie or sie) and hir. When "zir" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2019, it was noted as appearing in online discussion boards as early as 1993[5].

References[]

  1. Yuko, E. (2021, June 29). Beyond They/Them: What Are Neopronouns? Rolling Stone. https://web.archive.org/web/20211017151814/https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/neopronouns-they-them-pronoun-alternative-1190069/
  2. Sullivan, C., & Bornstein, K. (1996). Nearly Roadkill. Serpent’s Tail.
  3. Creel, Richard (1997). "Ze, Zer, Mer". APA Newsletters. American Philosophical Association. https://web.archive.org/web/20060512060324/http://www.apa.udel.edu/apa/archive/newsletters/v97n1/teaching/ze.asp
  4. Bornstein, K. (1998). My gender workbook : how to become a real man, a real woman, the real you, or something else entirely. Routledge. https://archive.org/details/mygenderworkbook00kate
  5. Oxford English Dictonary. (2019, March). New Words in the OED: March 2019. Oxford English Dictonary. https://web.archive.org/web/20211020091743/https://public.oed.com/blog/new-words-in-the-oed-march-2019/
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