NEW YORK — Russian election affect, the ever-widening sexual harassment scandal, mass shootings and the opioid epidemic helped elevate the phrase “complicit” as Dictionary.com’s phrase of the yr for 2017.
Look-ups of the phrase elevated almost 300 % over final yr as “complicit” hit nearly each sizzling button from politics to pure disasters, lexicographer Jane Solomon instructed The Related Press forward of Monday’s formal announcement of the positioning’s choose.
WATCH: Ivanka Trump says she is ‘complicit’
“This yr a dialog that retains on surfacing is what precisely it means to be complicit,” she mentioned. “Complicit has sprung up in conversations about those that communicate out towards highly effective figures in establishments, and people who keep silent.”
The primary of three main spikes for the phrase struck March 12. That was the day after “Saturday Evening Stay” aired a sketch starring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump in a glittery gold gown peddling a perfume known as “Complicit” as a result of: “She’s lovely, she’s highly effective, she’s complicit.”
The bump was adopted by one other April 5, additionally associated to Ivanka, Solomon mentioned. It was the day after she appeared on “CBS This Morning” and instructed Gayle King, amongst different issues: “I don’t know what it means to be complicit.”
READ MORE: ‘Xenophobia’ chosen as 2016 phrase of the yr by Dictionary.com
It was unclear on the time whether or not Ivanka was deflecting or whether or not the summa cum laude graduate of the College of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Faculty of Enterprise — with a level in economics — didn’t actually know.
One other main spike occurred Oct. 24, the day Arizona Republican Jeff Flake introduced from the Senate flooring that he wouldn’t search re-election, harshly criticizing President Donald Trump and urging different members of the social gathering to not stand silently with the president.
“I’ve kids and grandchildren to reply to, and so, Mr. President, I cannot be complicit,” Flake mentioned.
Solomon famous that neither she nor Dictionary.com can know what sends folks to dictionaries or dictionary websites to search for “complicit” or another phrase. She and different lexicographers who examine look-up habits consider it’s seemingly a mixture of people that could not know a definition, are digging deeper or are searching for inspiration or emotional reinforcement of some kind.
As for “complicit,” she mentioned a number of different main occasions contributed to curiosity within the phrase. They embrace the rise of the opioid epidemic and the way it got here to cross, together with the unfold of sexual harassment and assault allegations towards an ever-growing checklist of highly effective males, together with movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
WATCH: ‘I cannot be complicit or silent,’ Jeff Flake says he is not going to search re-election
The scandal that began in Hollywood and rapidly unfold throughout industries has led to a mountain of questions over who knew what, who might need contributed and what it means to remain silent.
Whereas Solomon shared proportion will increase for “complicit,” the corporate wouldn’t disclose the variety of look-ups, calling that information proprietary.
READ MORE: Tragic world occasions, Trump election makes ‘surreal’ prime phrase of 2016
The location chooses its phrase of the yr by heading straight for information first, scouring look-ups by day, month and yr up to now and the way they correspond to noteworthy occasions, Solomon mentioned. This yr, quite a lot of high-volume developments unsurprisingly corresponded to politics. However the web site additionally appears at lower-volume developments to see what different phrases resonated. Amongst them:
— INTERSEX: It trended on Dictionary.com in January because of mannequin Hanne Gaby Odiele talking up about being intersex to interrupt taboos. As a noun it means “a person having reproductive organs or exterior sexual traits of each female and male.” Dictionary.com traces its origins again to 1915, because the again formation of “intersexual.”
— SHRINKAGE: Whereas the phrase has been round since 1790, a particular definition tied to a well-known 1994 episode of “Seinfeld” led to a phrase look-up revival in February. That’s when a home in The Hamptons the place the episode was filmed went available on the market. For the file: The Jason Alexander character George Costanza emerges with “shrinkage” from a pool and mentioned “shrinkage” is famous by Jerry’s girlfriend.
— TARNATION: It had a superb journey on Dictionary.com within the first few months of the yr as a result of a spherical of social media enjoyable with the “What in tarnation” meme that had animals and varied objects carrying cowboy hats.
— HOROLOGIST: As in grasp clockmaker, just like the one featured within the podcast “S-City,” the extremely anticipated “This American Life” follow-up to the favored “Serial” podcast. All seven episodes of homicide intrigue have been launched without delay in March. Horologist, used within the radio story, trended round that point.
— TOTALITY: There have been look-up spikes in August. Thanks, photo voltaic eclipse and your slim band of totality, that means the strip of land the place the solar was fully obscured by the moon.