pronoun[third person plural]
1 The word they (with its counterparts them, their, and themselves) as a singular pronoun to refer to a person of unspecified sex has been used since at least the 16th century. In the late 20th century, as the traditional use of he to refer to a person of either sex came under scrutiny on the grounds of sexism, this use of they has become more common. It is now generally accepted in contexts where it follows an indefinite pronoun such as anyone, no one, someone, or a person: anyone can join if they are a resident; each to their own. In other contexts, coming after singular nouns, the use of they is now common, although less widely accepted, especially in formal contexts. Sentences such as ask a friend if they could help are still criticized for being ungrammatical. Nevertheless, in view of the growing acceptance of they and its obvious practical advantages, they is used in this dictionary in many cases where he would have been used formerly. See also he (usage) and she. 2 Don’t confuse their, they’re, and there. Their is a possessive pronoun: I like their new car. They’re is a contraction of ‘they are’: they’re parking the car. There is an adverb meaning ‘at that place’: park the car over there.