- off cvb aff. use a combining form of person, replacing in existing compound words such paired, sex-specific forms as -man and -woman or -er and -ess:salesperson; waitperson[/ex]•usage: The -person compounds are used, esp. by the media and in government and business communications, to avoid the -man compounds (anchorman; businessman) for individuals of either sex or the -woman compounds (anchorwoman; businesswoman) to specify the individual's sex. Some find the new -person compounds unnecessary, regarding the long-used compounds in -man as generic, not sex-marked. Alternatives to some of the -person forms have won acceptance, as anchor and chair; other coinages, as congressmember, have had only marginal use. See also -ess, lady, -man, -woman .
From formal English to slang. 2014.