Dictionary.com Names Its Word of the Year

Nov 27, 2017  •  Post A Comment

A word that saw a huge spike in the frequency with which it was looked up during 2017 has been named Dictionary.com’s word of the year. The word is “complicit.”

“Russian election influence, the ever-widening sexual harassment scandal, mass shootings and the opioid epidemic helped elevate the word ‘complicit’ as Dictionary.com’s word of the year for 2017,” the AP reports. “Look-ups of the word increased nearly 300 percent over last year as ‘complicit’ hit just about every hot button from politics to natural disasters, lexicographer Jane Solomon told The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s formal announcement of the site’s pick.”

Said Solomon: “This year a conversation that keeps on surfacing is what exactly it means to be complicit. Complicit has sprung up in conversations about those who speak out against powerful figures in institutions, and those who stay silent.”

Dictionary.com defines complicit as an adjective that means “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others…”

The AP adds: “The first of three major spikes for the word struck March 12. That was the day after ‘Saturday Night Live’ aired a sketch starring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump in a glittery gold dress peddling a fragrance called ‘Complicit’ because: ‘She’s beautiful, she’s powerful, she’s complicit.’”

Another surge reportedly happened on April 5, after Ivanka Trump, appearing on “CBS This Morning,” told Gayle King, “I don’t know what it means to be complicit.”

The third spike occurred on Oct. 24, after Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate and criticized fellow Republicans for silently standing with Donald Trump. Said Flake: “I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit.”

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