Merriam-Webster's 2017 Word of the Year Is a Win for Women

Merriam-Webster revealed its 2017 Word of the Year on Tuesday and you’re going to like this one: it’s feminism.

According to the dictionary, the word saw a 70 percent increase in 2016, and several key political and social events helped spark its use and popularity. Namely, 2017 kicked off with the Women’s March, where pink pussy hats represented a call for the government to recognize, honor, and defend women’s rights.

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Kellyanne Conway also contributed to searches of the word when she said she didn’t consider herself a feminist, and films and TV shows like Wonder Woman and The Handmaid’s Tale helped fuel an interest in it. The use of the #MeToo hashtag along with the breaking of various stories highlighting sexual harassment and misconduct also boosted its use.

Merriam-Webster Editor-at-Large Peter Sokolowski explained how they choose the year’s top words. “When we look back at the past 12 months and analyze the words that have been looked up more frequently than in previous years, along with intense spikes of interests from news outlets, we see that one word stands out in both categories.” Feminism, he said, was a clear winner.

So what is the exact definition of the word? “The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

The words that rounded out the top 10 were “complicit,” “recuse,” “empathy,” “dotard,” “syzgy,” “gyro,” “federalism,” “hurricane,” and “gaffe.”

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