Searches for the Definition of 'Pansexual' Spike After Janelle Monae's Coming Out

Taylor Henderson

In an inspirational interview with Rolling Stone yesterday, Janelle Monae came out as both queer and pansexual.

"Being a queer black woman in America," the 32-year-old began, "someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker."

Monáe initially identified as bisexual, so she clarifies, "but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am."

After the interview went viral, lookups of the word pansexual on Merriam Webster rose 11,000% and the term became the most searched word of the day.

So what exactly does it mean? 

"Of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation.”

The term entered the English language in the early 20th century, although it originally meant “tending to suffuse all experience and conduct with erotic feeling.”

Twitter applauded Monae for this uptick in visibility:

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