Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Merriam-Webster dictionary' announced "they" as its 2019 Word of the Year, reflecting its use as a singular personal pronoun by people whose gender identity is non-binary.
The dictionary said lookups for "they" in 2019 increased by 313 percent over the previous year, spurred by prominent news stories about the topic. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., announced her child is gender-non-conforming and uses "they" as their personal pronoun, singer Sam Smith also revealed their preference for "they" and "them" as pronouns, and the American Psychological Association officially recommended singular "they" be used instead of writing "he or she" when referencing a person whose gender is unknown.
"English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun to correspond neatly with singular pronouns like 'everyone' or 'someone' and as a consequence 'they' has been used for this purpose for over 600 years," Merriam-Webster said.
Additionally, two of the dictionary's Top 10 most looked-up words for the year were related to the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Searches of "quid pro quo" increased 644 percent with spikes on Sept. 25, Oct. 17, Oct. 18 and Nov. 20, while searches for "impeach" increased by 129 percent.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller's report on potential collusion and obstruction of justice by Trump and his campaign team in 2016 also impacted search results as searches for "snitty" sharply increased after Attorney General William Barr used the word to describe a letter Mueller wrote.
Mueller was also responsible for a spike in lookups for "exculpate" after he used the word during testimony before the House of Representatives in July.
Other words in the Top 10 included "crawdad," "egregious," "clemency," "the," "tergiversation" and "camp."