Each year there are several awards handed down, such as Time Picture of the Year, Time Person of the Year, and even People Magazines Sexiest Person of the Year. Seems there is pretty much an award for everything these days, however, this one is a little more unusual.
The folks over at Merriam-Webster Dictionary have been on the yearly award bandwagon for some time now. With the advent of the internet, their jobs a somewhat less challenging when it comes to determining the word that wins the title each year.
This year’s winner is a personal pronoun that the individuals over at Merriam-Webster have officially announced their word of the year. With a massive spike in look-ups on the search site that the company provides, 313 percent to be exact, the word outdid itself compared to 2018.
Ahead of the company’s official announcement on Tuesday, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, Peter Sokolowski said:
“I have to say it’s surprising to me. It’s a word we all know and love. So many people are talking about this world.”
The word, winning this year’s award and accolades is that of “they.” Although the word is a common one, it has become quite a mighty one, and not to mention an extremely busy word unto itself.
The word got out of the gates early in January 2019, and the increase of look-ups was accredited to rising model Oslo Grace, who has come out as identifying as transgender nonbinary.
Another spike occurred in April when a US Representative spoke on her gender-nonconforming child at a committee hearing of the House in reference to LGBTQ rights legislation. Merriam-Webster amended the definition of “they” as it relates to those individuals whose gender identify as nonbinary.
Then in October, the American Psychological Association chose to see the word “they” as a form of the singular third-person pronoun and added it to their latest style guide for writing for scholars.