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Doug Emhoff’s ‘second husband’ title officially added to dictionary3 min read

February 3, 2021 3 min read


Doug Emhoff’s ‘second husband’ title officially added to dictionary3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This time’s US elections was all about firsts – first woman Vice President of coloured origins, first rescue dogs to call the White House home, first time the Capitol saw violent riots in a long, long time, and more. 

And now, it looks like Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is making his mark too. Apart from being the first male spouse of a Vice President, he became the reason behind a first-time dictionary entry too! 

Merriam-Webster, the age-old popular American dictionary, added the term ‘second husband’ officially to its database, defining the term as “the husband or male partner of a vice president or second in command of a country or jurisdiction.”

The publisher, which has been releasing dictionaries since 1847, categorised the term under “words looking to the future.”

“The term is not new, but it’s finally common enough to have met our entry criteria,” Merriam-Webster said in a statement.

Emhoff, a lawyer formerly based in Los Angeles, has been married to Vice President Kamala Harris since 2014. Now, he will begin teaching an entertainment law class at Georgetown Law as a professor!

Owliver’s Obscure Facts

Twelve second ladies have gone on to become first ladies during their husbands’ terms as president. The first to do this was Abigail Adams, who was married to John Adams, who was the first vice president from 1789 to 1797, and then the second president from 1797 to 1801. 

Emhoff has said he will devote time as second gentleman to social justice issues and other projects in support of the (President Joe) Biden administration. 

Emhoff tweeted the day after the official inauguration ceremony that he is looking to his predecessors in the role for inspiration. He honoured the long line of women before him saying, “I’ll always remember generations of women have served in this role before me – often without much accolade or acknowledgment. It’s their legacy of progress I will build on as Second Gentleman,” he said.

Another first to remember: Inauguration’s youngest poet

Amanda Gorman performing at the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC

Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old who was hand-picked to perform at the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden, is the youngest poet to perform at the event, ever! 

Gorman, all of 22, became the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles at age 16 in 2014 and the first national youth poet laureate three years later.

A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring institution, typically expected to compose poems for special events and occasions.

By performing at the ceremony, she followed in the footsteps of some great, but older, poets such as Maya Angelou and Robert Frost. While writing ‘The Hill We Climb’ — which she read at the ceremony in Washington DC — the poet listened to music that helped put her in a historic and epic mindset, including soundtracks from The Crown, Lincoln and Hamilton. Watch her inspirational performance in the video below!

The young poet has already announced her ambition to run for president of the United States, and is releasing two childrens books later this year! 

Sources: CNN, Wikipedia, Huffington Post

Pictures: Getty Images, Adam Schultz, whitehouse.gov