- Merriam-Webster added Doug Emhoff’s title “Second Gentleman” to the dictionary.
- “The term is not new, but it’s finally common enough to have met our entry criteria,” Merriam-Webster wrote.
- Emhoff responded on Twitter: “I might be the first, but I won’t be the last.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Doug Emhoff’s title as Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband is now official.
As the first-ever male spouse of a vice president, there was some speculation leading up to the inauguration about what title Emhoff would use. In December, Harris confirmed to CNN’s Jake Tapper that he would be called the “second gentleman.”
Now that Harris is officially in office, Merriam-Webster announced that the term “Second Gentleman” has been added to the dictionary.
“Second Gentleman” is defined as “the husband or male partner of a vice president or second in command of a country or jurisdiction.” The first known use of the term was in 1976, making it a relatively recent addition to the English language.
“In concert with a new family’s arrival at Number One Observatory Circle, on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory, the term Second Gentleman has finally met our criteria for dictionary entry,” Merriam-Webster wrote. “Vice President Kamala Harris’s husband, Douglas Craig Emhoff, is the first Second Gentleman the United States has ever had. (Various states have and have had Second Gentlemen in the past.) The term is not new, but it’s finally common enough to have met our entry criteria.”
Emhoff responded to the news on Twitter, saying “I might be the first, but I won’t be the last.”
Well, now it's official. @MerriamWebster just added "Second Gentleman" to the dictionary.
I might be the first, but I won't be the last. https://t.co/1PFsrYslgM
— Douglas Emhoff (@SecondGentleman) January 28, 2021
Emhoff worked as an entertainment lawyer for over 25 years before leaving his career to support Harris’ campaign. He is now teaching a class at Georgetown Law while working to define his historic role.
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