Merriam-Webster's 2017 Word Of The Year: 'Feminism'

Women participate in the the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21 2017
Women participate in the the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21 2017
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14 December, 2017

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.

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary released its "words of the year" list, and it's basically a recap of 2017.

Merriam-Webster, a leading dictionary publication since 1828, said feminism was chosen based on a "quantitative measure of interest".

The word "feminism" has been part of most conversations this year. This is due to the fact many high-profile world events this year have focused on women's rights and gender equality, from the Women's Marches that took place around the globe at the start of 2017, to the USA presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to the recent #MeToo campaign in which women shared their accounts of sexual assault and harassment.

Speaking at a conservative event, she said she found it hard for describe herself as a feminist because she was not "anti-male" and "pro-abortion". The word was a top lookup throughout the year, with several spikes that corresponded to various news reports and events. "There's an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices".

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The word spiked again in late February, after White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told the Conservative Political Action Conference that it was hard for her to call herself a feminist "because it seems to be very anti-male and very pro-abortion in this context". Merriam-Webster credits the Hulu series "The Handmaid's Tale" and the movie "Wonder Woman".

"The word was in the air", said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's editor-at-large.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Time magazine named "the Silence Breakers" - women and men who had spoken out against sexual abuse - as its "Person of the Year".

In January, the word spiked after the Women's March in Washington (with "sister marches" around the world), held the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration.

The word refers to someone in "a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness".


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