people-first language


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The term first appears in 1988, used by advocacy groups in the United States.


people-first language (uncountable)

  1. Language which refers to disabilities by avoiding adjectives or the copula. The idea is to avoid saying words which refer to disabilities before saying words which refer to the people with these disabilities because this usage is perceived as dehumanizing.
    • 1988. Letter to the editor, BusinessWeek. Issue 3059
      People with disabilities and professionals in the human services field are promoting the use of "people first" language, which refers to the person first and the disability second: "Americans with disabilities," for example, rather than "disabled Americans".