Speed Reads

word choice

Merriam-Webster picks 'feminism' as the 2017 word of the year

In a year bookended by worldwide Women's Marches and the #MeToo movement, it is perhaps no surprise to hear that "feminism" is the 2017 Merriam-Webster dictionary word of the year. "No one word can ever encapsulate all the news, events, or stories of a given year," said the editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, Peter Sokolowski, in a statement. "But when we look back at the past 12 months and combine an analysis of words that have been looked up much more frequently than during the previous year along with instances of intense spikes of interest because of news events, we see that one word stands out in both categories."

Last year, the Merriam-Webster word of the year was "surreal," with searches of the word spiking on Nov. 9, the day after Donald Trump won the presidential election. The Trump administration similarly shaped the linguistic landscape in 2017, with searches of "feminism" spiking after Kellyanne Conway said she did not consider herself to be "classic" feminist.

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" and "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests." Dictionary.com picked "complicit" as its 2017 word of the year.