Feminism is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year

If 2016 was the year of Trump, 2017 was the year for us to fight back. Although we kicked off the year with his inauguration as the 45th president of the United States, we also kicked off with the Women’s March on Washington DC. And amid much adversity this year, we’ve continued to carry that torch to the finish line.

That’s whyMerriam-Webster’s word of the year should come as no surprise. It’s the word that was most researched on Merriam-Webster throughout the year, with considerable spikes taking place during prominent events. The word is “feminism,” a word that is on everyone’s minds for obvious reasons. In case you’re wondering, the Merriam-Webster definitions are “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

Online lookups for “feminism” reached numerous spikes during 2017, particularly during the Women’s March on Washington DC. It saw some traffic again when Kellyanne Conway said she didn’t consider herself a feminist. Interest in the word was also driven by the likes of Hollywood, with the releases of such titles as The Handmaid’s Tale and Wonder Woman. And with the sudden string of sexual harassment victims coming forward and the #metoo movement, it continues to be a hot word in everyone’s vocabulary.

In second place this year was “complicit,” which I admit I had to look up, just as Ivanka Trump probably had to after that particular interview. Third place was “recuse,” in reference to Attorney General Jeff Sessions “recusing” himself from any investigations of Hillary Clinton. Rounding out the top ten were “empathy,” “dotard,” “syzygy,” “gyro,” “federalism,” “hurricane,” and “gaffe.” Kudos to those who had to look up “gyro” for keeping this list somewhat light.

For the dictionary definitions of the rest of these words, look them up. That is whatMerriam-Webster is for, after all.

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