Whether it’s related to a certain election or the #MeToo movement, it’s pretty exciting in the current political climate to learn that the word of the year is feminism. According to Merriam-Webster, "feminism" was searched more times than any other word this year in the online dictionary, with the term generating 70 percent more searches than last year.
Feminism, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes,” is an often confused word and one that has come up a lot during 2017 in various contexts.
It makes sense that searches for "feminism" surged in January 2017 in conjunction with the Women's Marches that took place around the world in response to Trump's inauguration. The search term saw another spike in February when Kellyanne Conway said she didn’t consider herself a feminist in the "classic sense." (We'd have to agree with her on that front.)
Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, said in a statement that "no one word can encapsulate all the news, events, or stories of a given year... But when we look back at the past twelve 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.”
We're happy that such an important term is getting so much attention, and hopefully along with it, a broader public understanding and awareness of what feminism is about. Interestingly, another top word for Merriam-Webster this year was also Dictionary.com's 2017 word of the year: complicit.
If trends continue, 2018's word of the year should say a lot about the state of our country.
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