Mx. (Gender Neutral Honorific)

by Craig Shrives

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When should I use "Mx."?

"Mx." is a gender-neutral honorific title. In other words, it is a title that does not show a person's gender. ("Mx." contrasts with "Ms.," "Miss," and "Mrs.", "Mr.", which are honorifics specifically for females or males.)

Formal Definition for "Mx."

  • A title used before a person's surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female.
  • Oxford Dictionary

More about "Mx."

Even though "Mx." is classified as a neologism (a new term), it has been in use since the late 1970s. However, it has only recently (since circa 2015) been accepted by official institutions such as governments, health services, schools, and banks.

The inclusion of the "Mx." honorific on official forms was triggered by the rise of people identifying as gender non-conforming, non-binary, or transgender.

How to Pronounce "Mx."

There are two common pronunciations for "Mx."
  • miks
  • (This is the most common pronunciation.)
  • muhks
  • (This pronunciation is also used occasionally.)
Click to hear how "Mx." is pronounced:

The Period (Full Stop) after "Mx."

The female honorifics "Ms.," "Miss," and "Mrs." are all contractions of the word "Mistress." The male honorific "Mr." is a contraction of "Mister."

In the US, it is standard to use a period after an honorific title that is a contraction. This practice is followed by some in the UK, but generally Brits will only use a period if the last letter of the contraction is different to the last letter of the full word. For example:
  • I have received letters from Mr Jones and Prof. Williams. ()
  • (Writers in the UK would not use a period after "Mr" because the last letter is the same as "Mister.")
  • I have received letters from Mr. Jones and Prof. Williams. ()
Unlike the standard honorifics, however, "Mx." is not a contraction of another word. In fact, the "x" represents an unknown character, similar to algebra.

"Mx." is not a contraction of "mix," even though this would be a good fit for those who identify as male and female. As we've covered, "Mx." is used by a wider array of "gender non-conforming" groups, some of whom would be offended by the idea that "Mx." is a contraction of "mix."

Those following US convention should continue to use a period in "Mx." Those following UK convention should copy whatever format they use for "Mr/Mr."


Mx. gender-neutral honorific

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See Also

Ms., Miss, or Mrs? The grammar of non-binary pronouns What are contractions? When to use a comma with Dear, Hello, and Hi at the start of a letter When to use Yours faithfully and Yours sincerely at the end of a letter

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