Dictionary.com announced Monday it has named ‘complicit’ as 2017’s Word of the Year. Defined as “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others,” the word is indicative of larger trends that resonated throughout the year.
“Lookups for the word complicit increased by nearly 300 percent in searches in 2017 as compared to 2016,” said Liz McMillan, CEO of Dictionary.com.
“We continue to see a direct correlation between trending word lookups and current events, and we find it encouraging that our users are dedicated to understanding the language and words that pop up in the biggest news stories of the year,” McMillan added.
Events that spurred conversations about complicity included investigations of potential ties between the current U.S. presidential administration and Russia, a barrage of natural and man-made disasters, widespread allegations of sexual assault and harassment, and the devastating effects of both mass shootings and the opioid epidemic.
According to Dictionary.com, accusations of complicity have been waged from both sides of the aisle. Especially following new movement in Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, many Americans are left wondering about potential collusion between President Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin, and who among the inner circle might have known about any potentially illegal activity.
It wasn’t just politicians who played a potential role in Russia’s interference with the U.S. election; social networks like Facebook and Twitter were alleged to show complicity in promoting propaganda in the form of fake news and purchased ads from Russian operatives.
In general, according to Dictionary.com, there have been discussions that the Republican party, as a whole, has remained complicit when it comes to several controversies tied to President Trump’s administration, including his own complicity in white nationalism by initially refusing to condemn hateful activity from such groups.