Merriam – Webster who is the most definitive source of words these days is considering adding Furry and Fursona to their dictionary.
What is a ‘Furry’?
Although the adjective furry dates to the late 1600s with the meaning “consisting of fur,” the derivative noun didn’t take root in the English language until about the 1940s as the name for a fur-bearing animal (e.g., a bunny). A few decades later, the noun underwent a peculiar development in meaning. First, it began being applied as the name for a non-furry human who is a fan of furry animal characters—such as those featured in comics, cartoons, and games—that are humanlike in appearance and behavior. Furry then was used to designate a person who dresses up in a costume resembling such a character as well as an online user identified by an image of an anthropomorphicanimal. These senses of furry are, perhaps, surprising to those unfamiliar with the community of furries that began to coalesce in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, and into the 21st century. We’re working on defining them. In the meantime, we’d like to enlighten the uninitiated.
Adult interest in anthropomorphic animal characters isn’t as unusual as one might think—actually, it goes back to childhood. Children have been entertained by humanlike animals for generations. A few standout examples are the decades of animated cartoons and movies produced by Walt Disney and Warner Brothers, classic animal stories like Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and video games like Sonic the Hedgehog. Perhaps you enjoyed these diversions while eating a bowl of cereal promoted by a talking “silly rabbit” or a tiger named Tony. The fact is people from an early age have always been amused by anthropomorphic animals and evidently for furries the fascination with them burns strong beyond childhood.
What is a ‘Fursona’?
What makes the furry community different from other fan-based ones (such as those of the comic or sci-fi genres) is that typically furries create personalized animal characters which are referred to as a fursona (a portmanteau of the words furry and persona). A furry’s fursona is drawn from animals in nature or mythology that exhibit certain characteristics that they personally identify with, and they project their personalized fursonas, in appearance and behavior, in social interactions within the furry community in a variety of ways, such as through costume design, interactive role play, artwork, and creative writing. Some popular fursona species are the wolf, fox, cat, dog, tiger, lion, rabbit, and horse; hybrid mixes are also welcomed into the community.
Not all furries manifest their fursonas in the same way. Some see being a furry as a pastime and may only engage their fursona in online role play or chat, or they may participate in furry meet-ups or conventions wearing only a badge depicting their fursona, and maybe other representative accessories—such as a mask, animal ears, and a tail. Others embrace being a furry as a lifestyle and act out their fursonas in full costume—that is, in their customized fursuit.
Of course the site does go into greater detail and you can check it out HERE
So why this is a BIG DEAL? Simply because furries are becoming more mainstream. I know some do not like this but in my opinion like Anime we will be mainstream sooner rather than later.