You can’t cover this one up, folks, “complicit” is your 2017 word of the year according to Dictionary.com.
The word reportedly received a 300 percent increase in searches on the online dictionary, and the reason why is almost totally because of politics.
“This year a conversation that keeps on surfacing is what exactly it means to be complicit,” explained lexicographer Jane Solomon. “Complicit has sprung up in conversations about those who speak out against powerful figures in institutions, and those who stay silent.”
It follows last year’s political theme of naming the word of 2016 “xenophobia,” which means “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.”
“Complicit” is much more focused on the legal nature of political conversation these days, with the definition reading “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act.”
The first time the word received an increase in searches was after an SNL skit aired in March that was literally called “Complicit.” The spot featured a satirical representation of Ivanka Trump played by Scarlett Johansson as she promoted a new fragrance in a commercial.
As the bottle of “Complicit” is shown on screen, the commercial’s narrator says, “And a woman like her deserves a fragrance of her own. A scent made just for her. Because she’s beautiful. She’s powerful. She’s complicit,” which at the time was targeting the Trump family for not divesting in their personal businesses.
Oddly enough, when asked about the knock against her personal branding during an interview last April, Ivanka Trump responded with, “I don’t know what it means to be complicit.”
Another time the word “complicit” received a spike in searches was when Republican Senator of Arizona Jeff Flake announced he would not be running for re-election to avoid being entangled in the Trump presidency.
“I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit,” he said.
Solomon also stated that the recent avalanche of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against political figures, media figures and Hollywood stars has also played into the word’s recent popularity. She also said the word gained steam during the NFL protests.
Dictionary.com’s own words on the choice were “as much about what is visible as it is about what is not.”
“It’s a word that reminds us that even inaction is a type of action,” the website stated. “The silent acceptance of wrongdoing is how we’ve gotten to this point. We must not let this continue to be the norm. If we do, then we are all complicit.”