Robert Bertsche, a prominent First Amendment lawyer in Boston, passes along the latest news from the AP Stylebook Online (yes, I’m too cheap to subscribe):
dwarf The preferred term for people with a medical or genetic condition resulting in short stature. Plural is dwarfs.
midget Considered offensive when used to describe a person of short stature. Dwarf is the preferred term for people with that medical or genetic condition.
My 2004 edition of the AP Stylebook does not contain an entry for either word. Clearly the dwarfism community is making progress in its efforts to educate the public about the “M”-word.
In 2009, the New York Times’ then-public editor, Clark Hoyt, wrote that the Times had concluded the “M”-word was offensive.
I discuss the rise and fall of the “M”-word in Chapter Seven of my book on dwarfism, “Little People.”
10 thoughts on “More progress on the “M”-word”
Why would the plural spelling not be ‘dwarves’?
@Matt: Dwarves is archaic. According to Random House, dwarfs is preferred to dwarves.
You trendsetter, you.
O.K., I have to ask: is the correct plural of scarf, “scarfs” or “scarves.”
Maybe I’m a nerd, or just an insensitive baboon, but when I see “dwarves” I think “Lord of the Rings” or “Dungeons & Dragons”.
Or to your point, Mike– would it be ‘wharfs’ or ‘wharves’?
I think it’s “wharves” Matt. I’m really confused especially when it comes to the plurality of aircraft, deer, moose, sheep, bison, salmon, trout, fish and swine. And what’s the plural of uterus? Is it uteri or uteruses. I guess I’ll consult my wife’s gynecologist, she should know.
@Mike Rice: Check out the plurals for focus and location. They will blow your mind.
And remember, the singular of media is medium.
@Dan: Is that why those in the press consider themselves seers?
Ha! I kill me!
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