The gender-neutral, non-binary pronoun “they” has been announced as Merriam-Webster’s 2019 “Word of the Year”.
The company made the announcement on Monday in a post on Twitter, saying, “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.”
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.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 10, 2019
Merriam-Webster added the new non-binary definition to the word in September, claiming it has become increasingly common in published, edited text, as well as social media and in daily personal interactions.
The added definition reads: “used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.”
In the same month the American-English dictionary updated their definition, British singer-songwriter, Sam Smith announced his decision to change his pronouns to “THEY/THEM”.
Today is a good day so here goes. I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out… pic.twitter.com/IVoLTYbAWd
— Sam Smith (@samsmith) September 13, 2019
According to Smith, the decision came “after a lifetime of being at war with my gender.”
The runners-up for Merriam-Webster’s “Word of the Year” include “impeach,” “quid pro quo,” and “crawdad.”