|Photo by: Voice of America (VOA) via Wikimedia Commons|
“‘Feminism’ is our 2017 Word of the Year,” declared Merriam-Webster on its website.
The American publishing company, more known for its dictionaries, said that the said word was its “top lookup” for this year.
The number of times people looked for “feminism” on its online dictionary soared the highest after the Women’s March earlier this year.
On January 21, a day after Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th US president, more than 500,000 women, as reported by the New York Times, marched on the streets of Washington to show their solidarity in dealing with various national issues concerning healthcare, immigration, and, of course, women’s rights, among several others.Thousands also gathered on that same day in other cities, such as in Atlanta, Georgia (approximately 60,000); Boston, Massachusetts (approx. 175,000); Chicago, Illinois (approx. 250,000); Phoenix, Arizona (approx. 20,000); and New York City (over 400,000).
The following month, the number of lookups rose again after Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the US president, said in an interview that she didn’t see herself as a feminist, which, in her opinion, is someone who abhors negative feelings towards the male population and supports abortion.
Merriam-Webster also acknowledged the influence of the Hulu TV series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel of the same title, and Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, to the rise in the number of lookups for the word.
The series of allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Hollywood figures and TV, sports, and business personalities in the US also contributed to its popularity.
In 1841, American lexicographer and political writer Noah Webster (1758-1843) added the word “feminism” in his English dictionary.
Webster’s dictionary initially defined it as “the qualities of females.”
This 21st century, Merriam-Webster offers two meanings: (1) “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and (2) “organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.”
The other top nine words in Merriam-Webster‘s 2017 Word of the Year are (2) complicit, (3) recuse, (4) empathy, (5) dotard [pronounced /DOH-terd/], (6) syzygy [pronounced /SIZ-uh-jee/], (7) gyro, (8), federalism, (9) hurricane, and (10) gaffe [pronounced /‘gaf/].