"Woman" is Dictionary.com's Word of the Year for 2022, as searches for the word spiked with the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and gender identity debates. File photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 13 (UPI) -- "Woman" has been named the 2022 Word of the Year by Dictionary.com, which called the word "inseparable from the story of 2022" for its relevance to abortion rights and gender identity.
Dictionary.com announced "woman," defined simply as "an adult female person," as its Word of the Year on Tuesday. The dictionary website called it one of the "oldest words in the English language" that has evolved into a source of "intense personal importance and societal debate."
"Our selection of 'woman' as our 2022 Word of the Year reflects how gender, identity and language are shaping our current cultural conversation -- and how it shapes much of our work as a dictionary," John Kelly, senior director of editorial at Dictionary.com, tweeted Tuesday.
In a year when abortion rights and gender identity dominated the national stage, Dictionary.com found searches for "woman" spiked multiple times in relation to a number of high-profile events.
"During the height of the lookups for 'woman' on Dictionary.com in 2022, searches for the word increased more than 1,400%, a massive leap for such a common word," Dictionary.com said in a statement.
The largest search spiked in March during the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who became the first Black woman to be confirmed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. The search spike followed a request by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., to define the word "woman."
Lookups for woman surged again in May and June, after a leak revealed the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, sparking a nationwide debate over abortion rights.
Other prominent stories involving women in 2022, include the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September, WNBA star Brittney Griner's imprisonment and release in Russia, ongoing debates about transgender athletes and the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who died in police custody in Iran after she was arrested for wearing "inappropriate attire."
Other words that drew large searches and made Dictionary.com's short list for 2022 include "inflation," "quiet quitting," "democracy" and "Wordle."
Last week, the Oxford English Dictionary announced the slang term "goblin mode" as its 2022 Word of the Year, which was chosen by a popular vote.
"Goblin mode" describes a person who is "unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations," according to Oxford.
And Merriam-Webster named "gaslighting" as its 2022 Word of the Year last month. The term is defined as "the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one's own advantage."