In a nod to current events, Dictionary.com has chosen the word “complicit” as its word of the year:
Defined as “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others,” the word is indicative of larger trends that resonated throughout the year, hitting every aspect of today’s culture from politics and news, to environmental issues, business, tech, and more.
“Lookups for the word complicit increased by nearly 300 percent in searches in 2017 as compared to 2016,” said Liz McMillan, CEO of Dictionary.com. “We continue to see a direct correlation between trending word lookups and current events, and we find it encouraging that our users are dedicated to understanding the language and words that pop up in the biggest news stories of the year.”
Searches for the term spiked several times during the year, with the first happening in March when SNL aired a skit featuring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka pitching the new perfume, Complicit, whose tagline was “She’s beautiful, she’s powerful, she’s complicit.”
The second spike in searches occurred a few weeks later when Ivanka appeared on “CBS This Morning”. Co-host Gayle King asked her about the sketch and stories that she and her husband,, were complicit in White House actions.
“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Ivanka told King. “I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I’m doing. So I hope to make a positive impact.
“, but, you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and, much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.”
A third spike occurred on 24 October, the day Arizona Republican Senatorannounced that he would not seek re-election, harshly criticizing President Trump. “I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit,” Flake said.