The publisher determines which words are in the top spots by evaluating what the most searched for words in the given years.
Merriam-Webster said more look-ups followed the outpouring of sexual harassment allegations that have unseated well-known figures in Hollywood, politics, business, and triggered the #MeToo social media campaign by women all over the world.
Feminism is the word of the year, Merriam-Webster announced Tuesday, a fitting one considering women spent 2017 marching around the globe for rights to reproductive health, equal pay and economic security and an environment free from sexual harassment.
In the year of the #MeToo movement, it's no surprise that Merriam-Webster dictionary's word of the year for 2017 is "feminism".
Those spikes in interest were tied to several major events dealing with women's issues this year.
Demonstrators protest near the White House in Washington, DC, for the Women's March on January 21, 2017.
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Kellyanne Conway also caused a spike in curiosity about the word's origins after she explained how she could be a feminist as a conservative. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, Conway said, "It's hard for me to call myself a feminist in a classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male, and it certainly is very pro-abortion, and I'm neither anti-male or pro-abortion". "There's an individual feminism, if you will, that you make your own choices".
Today the dictionary publisher unveiled its annual "Word of the Year" list, which features the terms most frequently searched on the company's website throughout the year, along with the reasons why.
Interest spiked when President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, said she did not know what the word meant.
Dotard is defined as "a person in his or her dotage", with dotage described as "a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness".