The Meaning of AFAB: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been curious about the definition of AFAB? This guide will provide you with all of the information you need on the acronym AFAB, including its meaning, synonyms, example sentences, and more!

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What does the acronym AFAB stand for?

According to UN Omaha, Dictionary, and Queer Undefined, the term AFAB stands for assigned female at birth. This term is often used to describe people who were considered female when they were born but currently do not identify with the female gender. Many trans men and other trans people, such as nonbinary people, may by considered AFAB. These people may use different pronouns than match the gender they were assigned at birth. Just because a person was born with certain chromosomes or genitalia does not mean that they identify with the same gender they were assigned at birth, or necessarily any gender binary at all.

A similar term to AFAB is AMAB, which stands for assigned male at birth. This term might be used to refer to trans women or a nonbinary person who was assigned male at birth. This could also be stated as DMAB, which stands for designated male at birth, or if the person considered themself a transgender woman, MTF, which stands for male to female.  These terms are used by the LGBTQ community as a type of shorthand. People whose gender identity do not match the gender they were assigned at birth often face transphobia and misogyny. 

According to The Free Dictionary, the abbreviation AFAB also has many other definitions. While these definitions are still valid, they are less commonly used than “assigned female at birth” and should therefore be used with caution. Make sure that you provide the person you are speaking with proper context before using one of these other alternate definitions to eliminate any potential confusion. 

  • Anything for A Buck
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  • Army Families Advice Bureau (UK and Canada)
  • Air Force Air Base
  • All Fascists Are Bastards
  • Armored Field Artillery Battalion (US Army)
  • Absorbable Fibrin Adhesive Bandage

How can the term AFAB be used in a sentence?

The term AFAB can be used in a variety of different ways to describe a person who is assigned female at birth. In this scenario, Jules and Jax are meeting each other for the first time at an LGBT mixer on their college campus.

Jules: Hi, I’m Jules, and my pronouns are she/they! Nice to meet you!

Jax: Hey Jules, I’m Jax. My pronouns are he/him. How’s it going?

Jules: Really well! Excited to be here. How about you?

Jax: Doing good. I’ve got my top surgery on Friday so I’m a little nervous about that.

Jules: That is so exciting! Congratulations!

Jax: Thanks. It still throws me for a loop every time I see AFAB on my chart. But It’s better than being put down as female!

Jules: Very true. Well I wish you an easy and speedy recovery!

Here, Jax uses the term AFAB to describe that he is described by his doctors as “assigned female at birth.” Sometimes doctors might list this on a patient’s medical record if they are dealing with specific medical information that might refer to a person’s assigned sex at birth. This might not always match the person’s gender or preferred pronouns.

What are synonyms for the acronym AFAB?

Synonyms for the term AFAB can be tricky. If someone identifies as a cisgender woman, menaing that the gender identity that they present and feel comfortable with matches the gender identity they were assigned at birth, any number of the below synonyms can be used.

One similar term to AFAB might be FTM, which stands for female to male. This term is used to refer to a person who was assigned female at birth but has transitioned to a male gender presentation. This person might consider themselves transmasculine and use different pronouns than they were assigned at birth. However, not all people who are AFAB are FTM. People might be AFAB nonbinary, or they might be an AFAB cis woman. There are numerous other options that transgender people or a nonbinary person may consider themselves despite being assigned a female sex at birth.

Another similar term to AFAB is DFAB, which stands for designated female at birth. This term might be used to describe intersex people who were designated a female gender assignment at birth due to their presentation. These people may not align with their assigned gender, may experience dysphoria, or may identify as another gender or be gender nonconforming or gender fluid.

However, if someone identifies as non-binary or transgender and has otehr preferred pronouns, the below synonyms would not be appropriate to use. Always ensure that you ask someone what their preferred pronouns are and how they would like to be referred to before assuming or before using any synonyms for AFAB, as a person’s gender identity may not match the gender they were assigned at birth and using one of these synonyms may make them feel uncomfortable. This list of synonyms is provided by Thesaurus

  • female
  • Ms
  • miss
  • madam
  • she
  • gal
  • sister
  • daughter
  • gentlewoman
  • femme
  • matron
  • mother
  • mrs
  • lady
  • girl
  • woman
  • grandmother

Overall, the abbreviation AFAB stands for assigned female at birth. This term is often used when discussing someone who is transgender, agender, intersex,  genderqueer, or nonbinary and who might not identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth, though it cal also be used to discussed cis people. Always make sure that you ask someone their preferred pronouns before assuming.