Dictionary.com’s 2017 Word of the Year — ‘complicit’

Dictionary.com on Monday said its 2017 Word of the Year is "complicit" -- due mainly to its heavy use in political and cultural circles this year. Image courtesy Dictionary.com/Twitter

Nov. 27 (UPI) — Dictionary.com on Monday revealed its Word of the Year is ‘complicit’ — thanks to the word’s heavy rotation in political and cultural venues in 2017.

The definition website asks, “What does it mean to be complicit?” — a question raised after President Donald Trump‘s daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump said in an interview with CBS News recently that she didn’t understand the meaning of the word.

“I don’t know what it means to be complicit,” Ivanka Trump answered after she was asked about accusations that she and husband Jared Kushner were complicit in the actions of the president.

“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” she said, causing an 11,000 percent spike in searches for the word’s definition, the website said.

The moment even spawned a satirical ad on Saturday Night Live promoting a perfume and matching cologne for Jared called “Complicit.”

The perfume was marketed as “the fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won’t.”

Dictionary.com defines ‘complicit’ as “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having a partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.”

“Lookups for the word complicit increased by nearly 300 percent in searches in 2017 as compared to 2016,” Dictionary.com CEO Liz McMillan said.

“We continue to see a direct correlation between trending word lookups and current events.”

Being ‘complicit’ was also cited by the site as playing a part in the recent wave of sexual assault scandals, including accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

The website noted that those accused of sexual assault and harassment, “could not have carried out their actions without the complicity of many others who acted as direct accomplices or helped cover their tracks and shut down any victims who tried to come forward.”

Dictionary.com lists other ways in which being ‘complicit’ affected 2017, including the president’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the healthcare industry’s role in the opioid crisis, the Las Vegas shooting and gun control.

The website cited football player Colin Kaepernick and the participants of the 2017 Women’s March as examples of “glimmers of hope” among individuals who refuse to be complicit despite the ongoing trend.


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