Dictionary.com have announced their Word of the Year, a symbol of the year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends. This year’s chosen word is Complicit. Meaning, “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.” Or, put simply, it means being responsible for something, even if indirectly.
Throughout 2017; Russian election influence, mass shootings, Women’s Marches, the still unravelling sexual harassment scandal and the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement dominated news headlines, all of which contributed to the elevation the word.
Search results peaked for complicit on March 12, with 10,000% increase in daily average lookups. It was the day after US show Saturday Night Live aired a mock advert featuring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump promoting a perfume called Complicit. The product was marketed as “The fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.” The next spike came after Ivanka Trump went on CBS This Morning, admitting that she actually didn’t know what the word meant.
The website published: “We chose our Word of the Year, in part, because of noteworthy stories of those who have refused to be complicit. In the face of oppression and wrongdoing, this refusal to be complicit has been a grounding force of 2017”. Noteworthy stories refusing to be ‘complicit’ included NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 kneel protest during the US National Anthem, #metoo and high-profile resignations from the Trump Administration.
Marking complicit Word of The Year, highlights society’s problem of silently accepting wrongdoings. It’s an important reminder that we must not let the influence of power, restrain our voice, otherwise, we are all in fact, complicit.
Read more about Dictionary.com’s Word of The Year here.