Youthquake, feminism, complicit: These words defined 2017

While it's hard to point to a single word as defining an entire year, several words help define news events and movements in 2017.

From "feminism" to "youthquake" and "fake news," these are the words that defined 2017, according to your favorite dictionaries:

Feminism: 

Merriam-Webster's word of the year is "feminism."  The online dictionary's overwhelming word of the year winner was the word "feminism," which is defined as the “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests."

Searches on Merriam-Webster.com for "feminism" spiked in January, 2017, during the Women's Marches held around the world, and again, when Kellyanne Conway said she didn’t consider herself a feminist in the "classic sense."  And the lookups for feminism didn't stop there. Many looked up the term amid the #Metoo movement and as increasing allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct have taken over the news cycle. 

Complicit: 

Dictionary.com's 2017 word of the year is complicit. The word first began trending when Ivanka Trump told CBS she didn't know what it meant "to be complicit" in her father's presidency. Don't worry, Merriam-Webster filled her in. According to Dictionary.com, interest in the word didn't stop there, and the word continued to resonate with a number of 2017's biggest stories from Washington to Hollywood.

"The word 'complicit' has sprung up in conversations this year about those who speak out against powerful figures and institutions and about those who stay silent," the digital dictionary said in an announcement, noting a 300% increase in look-ups for the word over last year.

Youthqauke: 

Oxford Dictionaries' chose the word 'Youthquake' as its 2017 word of the year. Oxford Dictionaries' Casper Grathwohl told the BBC it was "not an obvious choice." But, the word has increased in usage "fivefold," especially during the UK's general election, according to Oxford. 

It's defined as "a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people." 

Fake News: 

Collins dictionary chose "fake news" as its 2017 word of the year. The dictionary definds "fake news" as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”. While President Trump often calls unsatisfactory news coverage "fake news," fake news is actually a real threat. 

More: Trump's attacks on 'fake news' are increasingly global

Contributing: Ashley May and Josh Hafner. 

© 2018 USATODAY.COM


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