Stories

"Feminism" is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year

Words printed in a dictionary
Words printed in a dictionary. Photo: Peter Morgan / AP

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism, according to the 189-year old dictionary company (now "provider of language information"), which calls it "a top lookup throughout the year." The popular lookups and context:

  • "Feminism spiked following news coverage of the Women's March on Washington, DC in January (and other related marches held around the country and internationally), and follow-up discussions regarding whether the march was feminist, and what kind of feminism was represented by organizers and attendees."
  • "The word spiked again when Kellyanne Conway said during an interview that she didn't consider herself a feminist. In this case, the definition of feminism was itself the subject of the news story — an invitation for many people to look up the word."
  • "Interest in the dictionary definition of feminism was also driven by entertainment this year: we saw increased lookups after the release of both Hulu's series The Handmaid's Tale and the film Wonder Woman."
  • "More recently, lookups of feminism have been increasing in conjunction with the many accounts of sexual assault and harassment."
  • "Today's definitions of feminism read: "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" and "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests."