Merriam-Webster names 'feminism' 2017 Word of the Year

By Susan McFarland  |  Dec. 12, 2017 at 1:47 PM
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Dec. 12 (UPI) -- "Feminism," a top lookup for 2017, was named Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year Tuesday.

News reports have kept the word in top searches the past few years, but the dictionary said it was looked up 70 percent more this year than last.

The official definition classifies the word as the "theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" and "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests."

Use of the word spiked this year, due in part to events like the Women's March in Washington, D.C., and similar marches worldwide. The word itself became the subject of a news story after President Donald Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said in an interview that she "didn't consider herself a feminist."

Other interests that sparked "feminism" lookups include entertainment news after the release of Hulu's series The Handmaid's Tale and the film Wonder Woman. The #MeToo movement also has resulted in a spike, as women came forward with stories of sexual assault and harassment.

In spot No. 2, is "complicit," which was's 2017 Word of the Year. The word spiked in March, after Ivanka Trump told a reporter she did not know its meaning when asked if she and husband Jared Kushner were complicit.

Other words that made the top ten include "recuse," largely relating to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Russia investigation; "empathy;" "dotard," which North Korean President Kim Jong Un used to describe Trump; and "syzygy," a word that spiked after the solar eclipse.

"Gyro," "federalism," "hurricane" and "gaffe" also made Merriam-Webster's list.

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, said, "no one word can encapsulate all the news, events, or stories of a given year."

He said evaluating major events of the year, combined with analysis of words looked up more than others, are part of the dictionary's selection process.

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