Sunday, April 21, 2024

‘Woman’ is Dictionary.com word of the year

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Dictionary.com has chosen “woman” as its word of the year, noting that the term was “inseparable from the story of 2022”.

The decision “reflects how the intersection of gender, identity, and language dominates the current cultural conversation”, the online lexicon said.

Search interest spiked during March hearings in the US to confirm the first black woman to the US Supreme Court.

The word was also used frequently during other newsworthy events of 2022.

Events that contributed to the website’s choice include the decision by the US Supreme Court to terminate the national right to abortion, the death of Queen Elizabeth, the move by tennis legend Serena Williams to leave tennis, the equal pay deal secured by the US women’s soccer team, and gender equality protests in Iran.

The biggest spike in search interest came during Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, when a Republican senator asked her for a definition of the word “woman”.

Then-Judge Jackson replied: “I’m not a biologist.”

The interaction led to searches for the word increasing by more than 1 400 per cent, which Dictionary.com notes is “a massive leap for such a common word”.

Woman is defined by the website as “an adult female person”. The term has become a flashpoint in the culture wars between conservative and transgender activists.

Dictionary.com said it “is not the last word on what defines a woman”.

“The word belongs to each and every woman – however they define themselves.” (BBC)

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