Home » ‘Woman’ is Dictionary. com’s word of the year

‘Woman’ is Dictionary. com’s word of the year

by Narges Mohammadi

The word “woman” is “inseparable from the story of 2022”, according to Dictionary.com, which is why they have selected it as their Word of the Year.

Dictionary.com also declared their choice as being about acknowledging the word, “reflects how the intersection of gender, identity, and language dominates the current cultural conversation.” 

The online reference site claimed the word was searched frequently throughout the newsworthy events of 2022, though ultimately saw its biggest spike in search interest during the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson in March, when she was asked by Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn to define the word “woman.”

Blackburn was questioning Jackson about transgender rights issues — to which Jackson replied: “I’m not a biologist.”

Blackburn retorted, saying that Jackson’s refusal to provide a definition of woman “underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about.”

The exchange saw searches for the word “woman” spike by more than 1,400 per cent — a leap that Dictionary.com said is “massive…for such a common word”.

The website currently defines “woman” as “an adult female person”, though adds “it is not the last word on what defines a woman” and “the word belongs to each and every woman – however they define themselves.”

A few months after Blackburn’s confirmation, the question of what a woman is returned during a House committee hearing on abortion access in July, when Georgian Republican Andrew Clyde asked a witness to define “woman”. 

John Kelly, Dictionary.com’s senior director of editorial, said in a statement: “This year, the very matter of the definition of the word ‘woman’ was at the center of so many consequential moments, discussions, and decisions in our society.”

“Our selection of ‘woman’ as the Word of the Year for 2022 – and how the word is defined, who is included in that definition, who the word applies and belongs to – highlights how important the work of a dictionary is, and how dictionaries can impact people’s lives.”

A deluge of news events have affected women this year; from the occurrences in Iran, to the the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Serena Williams’ retirement from tennis, and the disproportionate hardships faced by women in Ukraine

Dictionary.com said “the utter variety of all these events is a reminder that one word can never sufficiently summarize or encapsulate an entire year, especially a year as relentlessly eventful, inflammatory, and inflationary as 2022.”

“Nevertheless, 2022 will be remembered in part for its impact on women, and for women’s impact on a changing world.”

Close contenders for this year’s Word of the Year include the Ukraine flag emoji, “inflation,” “quiet quitting,” “democracy” and “Wordle.

Source: Women’s Agenda Website

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