Merriam-Webster announced the word of the year for 2019: the singular non-binary pronoun "they."
According to Merriam-Webster, searches for "they" increased 313% over the year.
"English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun to correspond neatly with singular pronouns like everyone or someone, and as a consequence they has been used for this purpose for over 600 years," Merriam-Webster said in a statement. "More recently, though, they has also been used to refer to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary, a sense that is increasingly common in published, edited text, as well as social media and in daily personal interactions between English speakers."
The word ‘they’
- was looked up 313% more this year than last.
- had a new sense added in September.
- is increasingly common in both public and personal communication.
‘They’ is our 2019#WordOfTheYear.https://t.co/i7QlIv15M3
The dictionary's word of the year is determined by data. Other widely searched words this year included "quid pro quo," "impeach," "crawdad" and "egregious."
Last year's word was was "justice."