Merriam-Webster Picks “They” for Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster just announced its pick for Word of the Year and while it’s not exactly a NEW word, it’s taken on a new meaning in modern times.



Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2019 is . . . “they.”  Specifically when it’s used as a gender-neutral replacement for “he or she,” or as the pronoun for a person with a nonbinary gender identity.



The number of people looking up “they” on Merriam-Webster’s website went up 313% in 2019.



So how do people feel about using “they” as a pronoun?  A new survey asked if they’d find it easy or hard to use a gender-neutral pronoun for someone if they asked for it.



52% of people say it’d be easy . . . and 35% say it’d be difficult.  This isn’t a surprise, but the younger you are, the easier you think it’d be to do.



Some of the other words Merriam-Webster considered for Word of the Year are:  Quid pro quo . . . impeach . . . crawdad . . . egregious . . . and clemency.  Yes, crawdad snuck in there, you’re not hearing things.