'Feminism': Merriam-Webster’s Word of the year 2017

Dec 13, 2017 15:56 IST
'Feminism': Merriam-Webster’s Word of the year 2017

'Feminism' was on 13 December 2017 named as the Merriam-Webster’s word of the year 2017.

In the year 2017, searches for 'feminism'  increased by 70 per cent over 2016 on Merriam-Webster.com. 'Feminism' has also been in Merriam-Webster’s annual Top 10 list for the past few years.

Meaning of Feminism
• 'Feminism' has its roots in the Latin language, where it was used for “woman” and “female” in 14th century English.
• As per the 1841 version of Webster Dictionary, Feminism was defined as qualities of females or femaleness.
• Later in the 19th century, the word was used in a medical sense for describing the physical characteristics of a developing teenager.
• At present, Merriam-Webster defines feminism as the “theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activities on behalf of women’s rights and interests.”

Incidents that ignited the use of word 'Feminism'

• Increased lookup for 'Feminism' can also be attributed various events and activities such as Women’s March in Washington in January 2017 along with several demonstrations around the globe.
• This was followed by presidential campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton and her loss to President Donald Trump, who once talked about grabbing women.
• The “Me Too” movement that was sparked by women protesting against Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, who was accused of sexual harassment by more than 50 women.
• And then, most recently, the rise of “Silence Breakers”, who came forward this year to publicly expose patterns of sexual harassment and assault by powerful public figures in America.

Other runner-up words

• Complicit: This was Dictionary.com’s word of the year.
• Recuse:  This was used during Jeff Sessions and in the Russia investigation.
• Empathy:  It was highly used throughout the year.
• Dotard:  It was used by North Korea President Kim Jong-un to describe US Donald Trump.
• Syzygy:  It is defined as the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies sun, moon and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse.
• Gyro:  In 2017, Gyro was used as a phenomenon in a Jimmy Fallon sketch on “The Tonight Show.”
• Federalism: It was used by Lindsey Graham while discussing the future of the Affordable Care Act.
• Hurricane: It was searched by people who were confused about wind speed.
• Gaffe: It was used by media to describe the event of announcement of wrong best picture winner at the Academy Awards.

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