On Monday, Dictionary.com announced that the word of the year for 2017 is complicit.
Dictionary.com defines the word as “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act” and “having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.”
Jane Solomon, a lexicographer at Dictionary.com told The Associated Press that searches for the word on the Dictionary.com website increased by almost 300 percent over the year. A myriad of Hollywood sexual assault scandals, President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, the opioid crisis and other issues have caused the word to be used more this year.
“This year a conversation that keeps on surfacing is what exactly it means to be complicit,” Solomon said to The Associated Press. “Complicit has sprung up in conversations about those who speak out against powerful figures in institutions, and those who stay silent.”
According to the popular online dictionary, the word saw three significant spikes in searches this year on three different days.
The first of three spikes in searches for complicit was on March 12. On that date, Saturday Night Live did a sketch featuring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump advertising a woman’s fragrance called “Complicit” with the tagline: “She’s beautiful, she’s powerful, she’s complicit.”
The second of three spikes in searches for complicit happened on April 5, the day after Ivanka Trump told Gayle King of CBS “This Morning,” “I don’t know what it means to be complicit” when she was asked about accusations that she and her husband Jared Kushner are complicit in her father’s actions. Ivanka added, “If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit.”
Ivanka Trump: “I don’t know what it means to be complicit”
The third time searches for complicit spiked was on October 24 when Senator Jeff Flake announced his retirement by saying, “I will not be complicit or silent.”
Jeff Flake: “I will not be complicit or silent”
Dictionary.com notes that there is nothing positive about the word and says when it’s used to describe something it is “decidedly negative.”
According to Dictionary.com, the site chooses its Word of The Year by analyzing word search data by day, month and year to date and also see how the word ties to current events happening in society. As it turns out, the word complicit became one of the most searched words on the site.
Dictionary.com also points out the reason why they selected complicit to be the Word of the Year is because of the many stories of those who have refused to be complicit, including the millions of people who participated in the Woman’s March on January 21, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against injustices, and the many people coming forward to share their personal stories of sexual harassment. These noteworthy incidents have all contributed in Dictionary.com’s selection of complicit as the Word of the Year for 2017.
We’re so excited to announce that the Word of the Year is covfefe!
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) November 27, 2017