Feminists celebrate as Merriam-Webster names 'feminism' the word of 2017

Women’s March in Washington

Though the word's etymological roots can be traced to the 19th-century French term féminisme, the issue of women's rights had dominated public discourse in the French and American revolutions of the late 18th century.

"The general rise in lookups tells us that many people are interested in this word; specific spikes give us insight into some of the reasons why", the language information provider said in a statement on its website.

Calm down, says the Merriam Webster dictionary, which has trolled USA president Donald Trump through the year for his jabs at garbling the English language.

Lookups for its definition rose by 70 per cent over the past year.

"No one word can ever encapsulate all the news, events, or stories of a given year, particularly a year with so much news and so many stories", he said.

After a spike in use around Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, the word "post-truth" was named as Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year in 2016.

If this word has been used for well over 100 years, what made it so important in 2017?

Searches rose following the Women's March in Washington and other U.S. cities on January 21, the day after Trump was sworn in as president, the dictionary said. "Feminism" is what stares back at you.

More recently, spikes occurred around breaking stories of sexual assault and harassment by powerful male figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Al Franken. His definition was, 'The qualities of females, ' so basically feminism to Noah Webster meant femaleness. Merriam-Webster said the word spiked in March when Ivanka Trump, the President's oldest daughter and a White House adviser, responded to accusations that she was being complicit in her father's decisions.

It adds that it is also "organised activity on behalf of women's rights and interests".

The dictionary defines feminism as being "the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes".

"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 am doing", Ivanka Trump said.

"The word has been used in connection with the Trump administration throughout the year: first, regarding whether members of Trump's administration were complicit in the firing of James Comey, and later whether they were complicit in Russian disinformation campaigns meant to disrupt the 2016 election". Surreal was the word of the year last year.

Merriam-Webster has become popular over the past two years for its viral trolling of Trump.



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