What is a terf?

A trans-exclusionary radical feminist

A "terf" is a feminist who holds sentiments that reject trans women as women. The label is also considered an acronym since it stands for "Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist."

Where did terf come from?

The name originates from 2008 when Viv Smythe (a feminist blogger) coined it to refer to feminists who are considered by other feminists to be transphobic. These terfs are passionately committed to the equality between sexes in political, economic, personal, and social arenas but do not believe trans women (people who were assigned as males at birth but identify as female) are actual women.

Notable terf controversies

The most notable terf controversy revolved around author J.K. Rowling in 2020 when she expressed concerns about the safety of women when men who identified as female for nefarious purposes could access women's restrooms. She also expressed concern about young teens with gender dysphoria attempting to alter their bodies when they will most likely grow out of it.

Rowling received a lot of abuse online, especially on Twitter, for her beliefs and was called a "terf," which was meant to be an insult. Comedian Dave Chappelle also received backlash in 2021 for declaring that he was "team Terf."


You'll get crucified on Twitter if you declare yourself a terf
Yeah, not much tolerance for dissenting opinions these days
Tweet about Chappelle's Terf comments
Tweet about Chappelle's Terf comments

Related Slang


Updated October 7, 2021

Terf definition by Slang.net

This page explains what the slang term "Terf" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slang.net team.

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