Posted on 12/10/2019 at 07:57 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is the shortest one so far this season: they.
But its brevity belies its complexity.
For years, “they” (and “them”) have been used — to the chagrin of some, but not all, language geeks — in place of “she” and “he” when gender is either unknown or unnecessary.
More recently, though, “they” and “them” are being used to refer to people whose gender identity is nonbinary or to people who wish to show support to the nonbinary community.
And as a result, Merriam-Webster says, the dictionary saw a 313% year-over-year increase in lookups for “they” this past year.
Categories: Today in Books