View definitions for xem


pronoun as in objective singular pronoun


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a synonym for xem?

Xem is a pronoun that serves the same grammatical function as him or her, except that it’s gender-neutral. Xem is typically used by people who identify as nonbinary or genderqueer, meaning that their gender identify falls outside of the strict binary of only male or only female.

For those who identify in one of these ways and who are deciding which pronouns to use, there are a lot of options.

Some pronouns similar to xem include xim, xir, zan, and zhem, among others.  The most commonly used is nonbinary them.

However, it should be noted that these shouldn’t be considered synonyms of xem in the sense that they are interchangeable when referring to the same person—the pronouns the person has specified are the ones that should be used.

Xem is often used as part of the xe/xem/xyr set of pronouns, but it is sometimes also used as part of other, similar sets, such as xie/xem/xyr.

In the next section, we’ll break down some of the nonbinary pronoun sets that people use.

What can you use instead of the word xem?

First and foremost: if someone says they use xe as one of their pronouns, that’s what you should use when referring to them. Some people might use a mix of pronouns, such as xem and them, in which case you can use either one, or both at different times.

There are a lot of different nonbinary pronouns, and it can seem overwhelming. To help, here is a chart of some (not all) nonbinary pronouns, along with the grammatical function of each one to help you understand how they’re used (and conjugated).

You can plug each set into this sentence to see how each pronoun is used:

[Column 1 subject form] told me to text [column 2 object form], but I don’t have [column 3 possessive form] number. 

subject form 

(same grammatical function as he, she, and nonbinary they)

object form 

(same grammatical function as him, her, and nonbinary them)

possessive adjective form

(same grammatical function as his, her, and nonbinary their)


In many (but not all) cases, the possessive pronoun form (the one equivalent to theirs, as in That book is theirs) is simply formed by adding s to the possessive adjective form (the one that’s equivalent to their): That book is xyrs. Similarly, the reflexive form (the one equivalent to themself) is often formed by simply adding self to the object form (the one that’s equivalent to them): xemself.

What kind of pronoun is xem?

Xem is a personal pronoun. It is singular.

But before we get too grammatical, it should be noted that xem is what’s called a neopronoun. A neopronoun is a gender-neutral pronoun that has been recently coined to fill the lack of gender-neutral options in English (not all gender-neutral pronouns are neopronouns—singular they and them have been used for a long time).

Grammatically speaking, xem is categorized as a third person pronoun (like he, she, him, her, and them), meaning that it’s used to refer to anyone other than the person doing the addressing (first person) or the ones being addressed (second person).

Xem is an objective pronoun, meaning that it’s generally used as an object—the one on the receiving end of some action—as opposed to the one doing the action. Nominative (subject) forms of xem include xe and xie, as in Xe asked me to drive xem home. 

For more, check out our guide to gender-neutral pronouns.

How do you pronounce the pronoun xem?

The neopronoun xem is typically pronounced zem.

On this page you'll find 18 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to xem, such as: me, you, him, her, it, and them.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.