Accusations of complicity have been waged from both sides of the political aisle
Citing trending data and “global news events,” Dictionary.com announced Monday that it has named “Complicit” its word of the year for 2017.
The word, which the website defines as “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others,” is strongly linked to the present national climate and has been a popular term to describe the various players in Donald Trump’s political orbit since his ascension to the presidency.
“Lookups for the word complicit increased by nearly 300 percent in searches in 2017 as compared to 2016,” Liz McMillan, CEO of Dictionary.com, said in a statement. “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.”
In 2016, the website named “xenophobia” its word of the year.
Per Dictionary.com, 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, mass shootings, and the opioid epidemic are among the primary events that have “spurred conversation” about complicity in the past year.
Many have also made a point of publicly declaring themselves not complicit: Campaigns such as the Women’s March which followed Trump’s inauguration, the National Anthem protests kicked off by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, and the general interactions of the “Resistance” have furthered complicit‘s boom in popularity.
The word was perhaps most infamously taken on earlier this year by Saturday Night Live, for a sketch in which Scarlett Johansson played Ivanka Trump as she promoted her new “fragrance”: Complicit. “She’s a woman who knows what she wants,” the faux commercial said in voiceover. “And knows what she’s doing.”