Feminism named Word of the Year by Merriam-Webster

Georgia Reed
December 14, 2017

The publisher determines which words are in the top spots by evaluating what the most searched for words in the given years.

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

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 is feminism.

Feminism was named Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2017 on Tuesday, marking another victory for women's empowerment in the United States over the past 12 months.

Those spikes in interest were tied to several major events dealing with women's issues this year.

March organisers claimed that women's rights were under threat following the election of Mr Trump to the White House. "And to me, that's what conservative feminism is all about", she said in front of an audience at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

Kellyanne Conway also caused a spike in curiosity about the word's origins after she explained how she could be a feminist as a conservative. "There's an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices".

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Searches for the term also soared when Hulu released the television show The Handmaid's Tale and when the movie Wonder Woman became a hit at the box office.

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

The sometimes-controversial word was the most looked-up word in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary.

What one word can sum up a year marked by Women's Marches, sexual misconduct allegations and the #MeToo movement?

This year the dictionary announced a 70 percent increase in online searches for "feminism" compared to 2016, recording multiple spikes corresponding to a string of news reports and events.

Feminism spiked following news coverage of the Women's March on Washington, DC in January (and other related marches held around the country and internationally), and follow-up discussions regarding whether the march was feminist, and what kind of feminism was represented by organizers and attendees.

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