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Etymology edit

pro- +‎ noun, modeled on Middle French pronom, from Latin pronomen, itself a calque of Ancient Greek ᾰ̓ντωνῠμῐ́ᾱ (antōnumíā).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

Examples (English grammar)
  • I, you, him, who, me, my, each other

pronoun (plural pronouns)

  1. (grammar) A type of word that refers anaphorically to a noun or noun phrase, but which cannot ordinarily be preceded by a determiner and rarely takes an attributive adjective.
    • 1789, Jean Baptiste, A grammar of the French tongue, page 193:
      The possessive conjunctive pronoun is always repeated before a substantive, and after a conjunction; as my brothers and sisters, mes frères & mes sœurs; []
    • 1997, Kevin Smith, Chasing Amy:
      Dalia: Why are you playing the pronoun game?
      Alyssa: What? What are you talking about? I'm not even.
      Dalia: You are. "I met someone." "We have a great time. "They're from my home town." Doesn't this tube of wonderful have a name!
    • 2013, Nicholas Brownless, “Spoken Discourse in Early English Newspapers”, in Joad Raymond, editor, News Networks in Seventeenth Century Britain and Europe, page 72:
      As here the possessive pronoun 'our' has inclusive reference in that it a priori includes both the editor and reader, its presence amounts to a kind of pronominal bonding between writer and reader.
  2. (Should we delete(+) this sense?) (chiefly in the plural) Any of the pronouns by which a person prefers to be described, typically reflecting gender identity.
    My pronouns are she/her.
    • 2019, Genny Beemyn, editor, Trans People in Higher Education, SUNY Press, →ISBN, page 178:
      The vast majority (82 percent) of the nonbinary trans students I interviewed used nonbinary pronouns for themselves, and all said that they were rarely given the opportunity to indicate their pronouns.
    • 2023 August 31, Frankie de la Cretaz, “Postcard from Camp Gaylore”, in Cosmopolitan[1]:
      Then an earnest elaboration: “It’s just nice that other people understand what I’m thinking. I don’t have to explain a million things. I don’t have to be like, Okay, I guess I’ll let you ignore my pronouns. It’s a very good space.”

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