Why 'Feminism' Is Merriam-Webster's 2017 Word of the Year

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Beyonce performs onstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Aug. 24, 2014 in Inglewood, Calif. 

Feminism isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the most-searched word of 2017.

Merriam-Webster announced that the word was a top lookup throughout the year, as queries surged 70 percent, with several spikes corresponding to various news reports and events, including the Women’s March on Washington in January and following Kellyanne Conway’s interview declaration that she doesn’t consider herself a feminist.

More recently, the volume of searches have been linked with the breaking-news stories of numerous accounts of sexual assault and harassment, as well as the #MeToo movement.

According to the dictionary, feminism means “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” and “organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests.” Searches of the proper definition were reportedly also driven by entertainment this year, as searches increased after the release of both Hulu’s series The Handmaid’s Tale and the Wonder Woman film.

The word even hit the fashion world in a big way, with designers like Christian Dior and Prabal Gurung sparking a trend of slogan tees, spotted on celebrities such as Madonna, Rihanna, Common and Jennifer Lawrence.

Among others to make Merriam-Webster's top 10 Words of the Year list for 2017 are complicit, hurricane, federalism, empathy and gaffe.

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