The nonbinary pronoun 'they' has been named as the Merriam-Webster dictionary's word of the year.
Merriam-Webster says that it is common to see they and them as a person’s preferred pronouns in social media bios, email signatures, and even conference nametags.
Via Merriam-Webster... 'English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun to correspond neatly with singular pronouns like everyone or someone, and as a consequence they has been used for this purpose for over 600 years. More recently, though, they has also been used to refer to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary, a sense that is increasingly common in published, edited text, as well as social media and in daily personal interactions between English speakers. There's no doubt that its use is established in the English language, which is why it was added to the Merriam-Webster.com dictionary this past September.'
The word ‘they’— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) December 10, 2019
- was looked up 313% more this year than last.
- had a new sense added in September.
- is increasingly common in both public and personal communication.
‘They’ is our 2019 #WordOfTheYear.https://t.co/i7QlIv15M3
Other terms that were widely searched for in 2019 on Merriam-Webster:
- Quid pro quo