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dead·​name ˈded-ˌnām How to pronounce deadname (audio)
variants or less commonly dead name
plural deadnames also dead names
: the name that a transgender person was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning
Many trans people will go to great lengths to prevent people from finding out their deadnames, destroying irreplaceable photos and documents in an effort to ensure that who they really are is the only identity most will remember.Sam Riedel


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deadnamed; deadnaming; deadnames

transitive verb

: to speak of or address (someone) by their deadname
A Texas high school that was planning to deadname a transgender student at his graduation ceremony today has reversed its decision, and will call him by his name after all.Jeff Taylor
When an officer misgenders and deadnames a victim, they are disregarding and denying that trans person's identity, advocates say.Annamarya Scaccia

Examples of deadname in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Some districts with conservative-majority school boards are following suit by trying to get books removed from library shelves and insisting educators call students by their deadnames. Amber Ferguson, Washington Post, 13 June 2023 But one revelation that the episode very purposefully doesn’t provide is Ruthie’s deadname, which she’s referred to constantly throughout the flashbacks. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 29 June 2022 Patterson said his deadname isn’t dead. Leilani Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Oct. 2021 Reports in the British media, from several major outlets, either omitted Ghey’s trans identity, or used her deadname — an act that has incensed the transgender community, and sparked several nationwide rallies, like the one Sophie attended that night. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 3 Mar. 2023 No one ever used my deadname. Julia Kamper, Quartz, 27 Oct. 2022 Peterson made comments about transgender actor Elliot Page, referring to him by his deadname, per Forbes. Theara Coleman, The Week, 23 Nov. 2022 My name had been legally changed, so no one would mistakenly call me by my deadname. Julia Kamper, Quartz, 27 Oct. 2022 But one resourceful student used Google Scholar, the company’s service for searching academic literature, to find other publications, some of which contained her former name, or deadname. WIRED, 3 Sep. 2022
YouTube demonetizes some of Candace Owens’ videos Several videos on conservative pundit Candace Owens’ channel were demonetized for violating YouTube’s monetization policies on hateful and derogatory content, which the company said may apply to instances of misgendering or deadnaming. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 9 June 2023 The incident report misgenders and deadnames Brown, as officers believed Brown was female at the time of the shooting. Susie Neilson, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 May 2023 Both misgendering and deadnaming are common acts of harassment used to target trans individuals, especially online. Julia Malleck, Quartz, 19 Apr. 2023 The reality is that the policy against misgendering and deadnaming was selectively enforced and the CEO himself dabbled in casual transphobia. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 19 Apr. 2023 The platform first introduced its policy prohibiting misgendering and deadnaming (referring to a person’s pre-transition name) of transgender people in 2018 as part of a broader overhaul of its hateful conduct policy. Clare Duffy, CNN, 19 Apr. 2023 Twitter added rules against misgendering and deadnaming in 2018 but removed the protections on April 8, according to pages archived by the Wayback Machine. Matt Novak, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2023 Idaho parent Kris Huntting consoled their teenage son, who is trans, after most of his teachers deadnamed him on the first day of school, in accordance with a new policy. Hannah Schoenbaum and Sean Murphy, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deadname.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


2010, in the meaning defined above


2013, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of deadname was in 2010

Dictionary Entries Near deadname

Cite this Entry

“Deadname.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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