The nonbinary pronoun “they” has been named Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s word of the year. It revealed that searches for the term have risen by 313% in the last year.
The definition of “they” as a nonbinary pronoun was added to the three other separate definitions of the word in September. Merriam-Webster said in a statement that the word of the year winner was determined by data. When the word was added, Merriam-Webster says that it had evidence in its files of the nonbinary “they” dating back to 1950.
Key moments cited by the dictionary publisher where searches spiked were January’s Paris Fashion Week featuring nonbinary model Oslo Grace, US congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s April statement about her child being gender-nonconforming and June’s Pride celebrations.
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year in 2018 was “justice,” while in 2017 it was “feminism,” preceded by “surreal” in 2016. Other terms that were widely searched for in 2019 were “quid pro quo,” “impeach,” “crawdad” and “egregious.”