Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender(ed)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The abbreviation LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender(ed). It has been in use since the late 20th century.


This is Pride Month, and since we looked at the noun Pride in an earlier post I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the other terms used in the field of gender and sexual identity. In this area, as in so many others, initialisms and acronyms proliferate. If you enter the letters LGB in the Macmillan Dictionary search box you will be offered no fewer than 10 terms of increasing length, ending with LGBTTQQIAAP. While LGB is the shortest and was the earliest to be used, it was soon felt to be too narrow and was joined by LGBT. LGBT itself was found to be inadequate to cover the full range of sexual and gender identities, hence the creation of ever longer lists of letters to cover additional possibilities. The most elegant solutions to this are perhaps the terms LGBT+ or LGBTQ+ with the + standing for ‘others’, although not everyone will feel happy about such lumping together of different identities. Although the order of the first two letters is sometimes reversed, giving GLB(T) , the forms starting with ‘L’ are more frequent by far.


It’s a time to celebrate the rich diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and the remarkable progress we’ve made in the gay rights movement.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

People who identify as LGBTQ+ exist in every profession, job and field of work.
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

gender, sexual orientation, pride, rainbow

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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