This glossary* outlines terms that may be harmful, explores why and in which contexts they may be harmful, and highlights more inclusive alternatives and usage recommendations. Each term is accompanied by links to resources supporting our reasoning and recommendations. The glossary is organized alphabetically, and you can look up specific terms using the search bar.
This tool was developed in conjunction with our inclusive language framework. We use the framework to consider the impact of each term in various contexts, assess when the terms may be harmful, and explore more inclusive alternatives.
*This work was supported by Google. EGAL also formed and collaborated with a working group of academic and community leaders with representation across different identities and expertise.
Inclusive language principles
More inclusive alternative terms are selected on the basis of four guiding principles, which outline that inclusive language:
Conveys respect to all people
Communicates a message effectively through precise language
Involves continual improvement
Using the Glossary
We encourage you to approach this glossary with a mindset of:
Being open to learning and unlearning;
Recognizing that context matters and language changes; and
Being willing to change behaviors and strive to do better.
This glossary is not exhaustive, and inclusive language is not about memorizing a fixed list of “good” and “bad” words. Instead, we recommend leveraging this tool as a reference point and learning opportunity. Language changes and evolves, so we urge you to continue to ask yourself how you can communicate in ways that are compassionate and effective, and reference our inclusive language framework to continue on your journey of being an Equity Fluent Leader.