'They' is declared 'Word of the Year' after celebs like Sam Smith declare they're non-binary
US dictionary Merriam-Webster has declared "they" their 'Word of the Year' following a 300+ percent rise in searches for the pronoun, Metro reports.
'They' is often used as a singular pronoun by nonbinary people who do not identify as either male or female. Merriam-Webster officially added the third definition as an entry this past September.
According to the BBC, searches for 'they' on the Merriam-Webster website were 313% higher this year than they were in 2018.
"Pronouns are among the language's most commonly used words, and like other common words (think ‘go,’ ‘do,’ and ‘have’) they tend to be mostly ignored by dictionary users," Emily Brewster, senior editor at Merriam-Webster, said in a statement per NBC News. “But over the past year or so, as people have increasingly encountered the nonbinary use, we've seen searches for ‘they’ grow dramatically.”
Learn more about the Florida mother who says she is raising a gender-neutral baby:
Fuelling this interest in alternative definitions of the word are the likes of British singer Sam Smith came out as non-binary in March, and in September confirmed on Instagram that their pronouns were "they/them".
Smith wrote this in a heartfelt caption explaining their pronouns:
"Today is a good day so here goes. I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out. I’m so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I’ve been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but fuck it! I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you.
"P.s. I am at no stage just yet to eloquently speak at length about what it means to be non binary but I can’t wait for the day that I am. So for now I just want to be VISIBLE and open. If you have questions and are wondering what this all means I’ll try my best to explain but I have also tagged below the human beings who are fighting the good fight everyday. These are activists and leaders of the non binary/trans community that have helped me and given me so much clarity and understanding. [sic]"