Feminism has been named the Word of the Year by American dictionary Merriam-Webster.
The US dictionary said its Word of the Year is a quantitative measure of interest in a particular word. Merriam-Webster found a 70% rise in online searches for the word “feminism” in 2017, compared to 2016.
The word was searched for the most in the last weeks of January, after the Women’s March in Washington DC and other parts of the world. Several other events, news reports and even films in 2017 influenced the searches, the dictionary said.
Feminism was highly searched even after the release of the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale and the Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot.
In October, people searched for the word again after several accounts of sexual assault involving Hollywood personalities, starting with Harvey Weinstein, and political leaders began to surface across the US.
“No one word can ever encapsulate all the news, events, or stories of a given year—particularly a year with so much news and so many stories,” Merriam-Webster said. “But when a single word is looked up in great volume, and also stands out as one associated with several different important stories, we can learn something about ourselves through the prism of vocabulary.”
Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and an “organised activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”.
Other words that were popular this year include fact, complicit, recuse, empathy, and even dotard.