The year 2017 was a rumbling one!
Beleive me, it really was!
Beginning with the Women’s March on Washington in January, along with demonstrations by sisters around the globe. Heading into the year was Democrat Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential campaign with Donald Trump, who once boasted about grabbing women swiped a clear win. Events like such lead to the emergence of 2017’s word of the year.
This may or may not come as a surprise: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017 is “FEMINISM.”
Feminism’s roots are in the Latin for “woman” and the word “female,” which dates to 14th century English.
Discussing the reasons for the selection of the word, Lexicographer Peter Sokolowski the Editor at large had to look no further than his company’s founder, Noah Webster, for the first dictionary reference, in 1841, which isn’t all that old in the history of English.
Sokolowski told The Associated Press “Yes, it’s been a big year or two or 100 for the word. In 2017, lookups for feminism increased 70 percent over 2016 on Merriam-Webster.com and spiked several times after key events” ahead of Tuesday’s annual word reveal.
One of the other significant reason that convinced the team to select the Word Of The Year was the “Me Too” movement that rose out of Harvey Weinstein’s dust, and other “silence breakers” that brought down rich and famous men of media, politics and the entertainment worlds.
Feminism has been in Merriam-Webster’s annual Top 10 for the last few years, including sharing word-of-the-year honors with other “isms” in 2015. Socialism, fascism, racism, communism, capitalism, and terrorism rounded out the bunch. Surreal was the word of the year last year.
“The word feminism was being used in a general way,” Sokolowski said “The feminism of this big protest, but it was also used in a kind of specific way: What does it mean to be a feminist in 2017? Those kinds of questions are the kinds of things, I think, that send people to the dictionary.“
“It was a very new word at that time,” Sokolowski said. “His definition is not the definition that you and I would understand today. His definition was, ‘The qualities of females,’ so basically, feminism to Noah Webster meant femaleness.
We do see evidence that the word was used in the 19th century in a medical sense, for the physical characteristics of a developing teenager, before it was used as a political term if you will.”
“It’s difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly seems to be very pro-abortion. I’m neither anti-male or pro-abortion,” she said. “There’s an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices. … I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances. And to me, that’s what conservative feminism is all about.”
She was applauded, and she sent many people to their dictionaries, Sokolowski said. The company would not release actual lookup numbers. Other events that drew interest to the word feminism was the popular Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and the blockbuster movie, “Wonder Woman,” directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, Sokolowski said.
For more information on how the team @ Merriam Webster chose this year’s Word of the Year, go behind the scenes with editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski. And don’t miss their in-depth look at feminism.