Merriam-Webster announced Monday night that its word of the year for 2017 is “feminism.”
"2017 saw both a sustained rise in 'feminism' lookups and a number of event-driven spikes,” the dictionary wrote on Twitter. “'Feminism' was looked up 70% more in 2017 than in 2016. And it was looked up a ton in 2016."
The event-driven spikes it’s referring to include the Women’s March on Washington, D.C.—and concurrent marches around the world—immediately following Trump’s inauguration in January. The marches sparked “follow-up discussions regarding whether the march was feminist, and what kind of feminism was represented by organizers and attendees.” The site also noted a spike in searches when Kellyanne Conway declared during an interview that she was not a feminist.
According to Merriam-Webster, the most current definition of “feminism” is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.”
Merriam-Webster also noted that the resurgence of the #MeToo movement has kept "feminism" searches high. Since the Harvey Weinstein story broke in October, allegations against other powerful men including Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Russell Simmons, President Donald Trump, Roy Moore, and many, many others have led to many coming forward with their own experiences of sexual misconduct and assault.
In a statement, the dictionary's editor at large Peter Sokolowski wrote, "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."
Behind "feminism," other notable words from 2017 include “complicit,” “recuse,” “empathy,” and “dotard." Dictionary.com announced last month that its word of the year was “complicit.”