Make your home page

Merriam-Webster adds ‘second gentleman’ to describe Doug Emhoff’s role

Democratic vice presidential running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff pose on stage after the first Biden-Harris press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, on August 12, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

 (CNN) — Doug Emhoff is racking up several firsts as second gentleman of the United States.

He is the first male spouse of a vice president; he is the first Jewish spouse of an American vice president; and on Thursday he became the catalyst for a first dictionary entry. Merriam-Webster added “second gentleman” to its esteemed dictionary, defining the term as, “the husband or male partner of a vice president or second in command of a country or jurisdiction.”

Emhoff noted the addition tweeting: “Well, now it’s official.”

Emhoff, a lawyer formerly based in Los Angeles, has been married to Vice President Kamala Harris since 2014. On Inauguration Day, he severed all ties with his law firm DLA Piper, where he had practiced law in intellectual property and technology and its media, sports and entertainment sector, according to the firm website.

He will begin teaching an entertainment law class at Georgetown Law as a professor this week, according to his office.

His role at Georgetown will come after the precedent set by former second lady — and now, first lady — Jill Biden, who worked as a community college teacher during the Obama administration. She has said she plans to continue to teach even in her new role.

Emhoff has said he will devote time as second gentleman to social justice issues and other projects in support of the Biden administration. Emhoff tweeted the day after the inauguration that he is looking to his predecessors in the role for inspiration.

“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.

On Thursday, Emhoff is scheduled to participate in his first solo event as second gentleman, visiting a Washington, DC, nonprofit organization that supports healthy food distribution for those in need.

Emhoff’s tweet about his new dictionary entry descriptor included an echo of the phrase Harris has used to define her own historic post: “I might be the first, but I won’t be the last.”