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‘Feminism’ is the word of 2017

Merriam-Webster has announced their Word of the Year for 2017: feminism!

While the term may not have been included in Google’s most searched words this year, it was the centre of many discussions, arguments, and protests over the last 12 months. Here at Women’s Post, the term is used weekly.

Webster’s said the word “feminism” was a word looked up constantly throughout the year, “with several spikes that correspond to various news reports and events.” Events that sparked an increase in searches included the Women’s March in Washington, when U.S. President Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway claimed she wasn’t a feminist, and the #MeToo movement that has rocked the entertainment industry. And of course, there were television shows like The Handmaiden’s Tale that explored a number of women’s issues and inspired women to become more active in politics.

According to Webster’s definition of the word, 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.”

On average, the term was looked up 70 per cent more often than in 2016.

Some of the words searched in Webster’s include:

  • Complicit: “helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way.” Remember when Ivanka Trump was accused of being complicit to her father’s actions int he White House and she claimed not to know what the word meant? I’m sure she does now!
  • Dotard: a person in his or her dotage” (dotage is “a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness”). The term was used in a news release in North Korea to describe U.S. President Donald Trump.
  • Syzygy: “the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system.” The term was searched during the December super moon, which was partially caused by this phenomenon.
  • Gaffe: “a noticeable mistake.” Anyone else remember the 2017 Academy Awards?
  • Empathy: “the ability to share another person’s feelings.” This term as searched in response or in relation to political decisions this year, as well as the #MeToo social media campaign. I don’t know about you, but I think more people should be looking up the definition of empathy.