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Kamala Harris, Emhoff's wife, was sworn-in last week as the first female vice president and first Black person and person of Asian descent in the office

By Virginia Chamlee
January 29, 2021 04:26 PM
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If you're looking up Doug Emhoff in the dictionary, be sure to flip to "S" for second gentleman.

On Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris' husband tweeted a small but significant addition to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: his title as the country's first-ever "second gentleman,"

The dictionary defined the term as "the husband or male partner of a vice president or second in command of a country or jurisdiction."

Emhoff, 56, reacted on Twitter, writing: "Well, now it's official.@MerriamWebsterjust added 'Second Gentleman' to the dictionary. I might be the first, but I won't be the last."

His wife was sworn-in last week as the first female vice president and first Black person and person of Asian descent in the office as well.

As the first male spouse of a president or vice president, Emhoff makes a bit of history himself. A former entertainment lawyer who will teach while pursuing humanitarian causes in the White House, he has said he wants to follow in the footsteps of the women who preceded him.

Douglas Emhoff
Credit: Lester Cohen/Getty

Harris said prior to the inauguration that her husband would likely be officially referred to as "second gentleman" (though she added in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper that she would continue calling Emhoff "honey").

Emhoff left his firm ahead of his wife's swearing-in to office.

On Twitter, where his handle is @SecondGentleman, he wrote last week that he was "honored" to take on the role of the first male spouse of either an American president or vice president.

"She's got plenty of great people giving her political advice," Emhoff told PEOPLE in the fall. "I'm her partner, I'm her best friend and I'm her husband. And that's what I'm here for. I'm here to have her back."

He has, however, expressed an interest in building on the "legacy of progress" of the women who have served in the role of second lady.

"I am honored to be the first male spouse of an American president or vice president," Emhoff wrote on Twitter last week. "But 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."

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Kamala Harris (L), with her husband Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, (C) is sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor (R) as US President-elect Joe Biden look on as the 49th US Vice President by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on January 20, 2021
Kamala Harris (left) is sworn in with her husband beside her at the Jan. 20 inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.
| Credit: ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty

On Thursday, Emhoff made his first public outing in his new role, touring a Washington, D.C., farm to highlight issues of food insecurity.

"I want to do what I can to amplify it," he said then. "I think it's something everyone needs to be concerned about."

He told reporters covering the tour that he would, of course, be discussing his day with his wife.

"Every time I do something, every time I learned something, it's like notes from the field," he said. "We'll talk about it tonight."

On Thursday, Emhoff also taught his first course at Georgetown University Law Center Thursday, where he recently joined the faculty.

Due to renovations at Number One Observatory Circle — the official residence of the vice president — Harris and Emhoff are temporarily living at the presidential guest house, Blair House.