One of the activities I engage in with my free time is the perusal of my dictionary, or now, my dictionaries. I own the 3rd and 5th editions of The American Heritage Dictionary, which were published in 1992 and 2011, respectively. There are some interesting differences between the two, such as the exclusion of the word “internet” from the 1992 edition. However, I find the differences between the definitions of “wife” and “husband” rather compelling.
Consider the 1992 definitions of “wife” and “husband”:
wife - A woman joined to a man in marriage; a female spouse.
husband - A man joined to a woman in marriage; a male spouse.
Now consider the 2011 definitions:
wife - A woman joined to another person in marriage; a female spouse.
husband - A man joined to another person in marriage; a male spouse.
I find the definitions compelling because they make me wonder what they will be 20 years from now, since they have already changed within a span of less than 20 years. Take keen notice that one simply needs to be joined to another person; gender of the other person is not specified, as it is in the 1992 definitions.