Yesterday, Pink Slip had its take on feminism, Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017.
What else made the list, which is based on the number of lookups a word had?
For one, complicit, which had its breakout moment after SNL did a very funny parody of a commercial for a perfume called Complicit, in which Ivanka Trump is brilliantly played by Scarlett Johansson.
"The fragrance for the woman who could stop all this … but won't." The word spiked again weeks later when Trump herself said, in response to Gayle King's question about whether she and her husband were “complicit” in what was going on in the White House, that she "didn't know what it means to be ‘complicit.’"
So, Ivanka doesn’t know what it means to be complicit? Huh? Maybe she was too busy googling “collusion” and “obstruction of justice”. Anyway, I’m sure that if Ivanka’s father gets wind of the M-W word list, he’ll be stoked by the impact he had on it. Feminism, which at least indirectly gained traction because of him. And complicit.
But it doesn’t end there. Recuse was also way up there lookup-wise, thanks to Trump appointee AG Jeff Sessions. Well, recuse me, as Steve Martin used to almost say. Another Trumpish look up was empathy, a word associated with Trump as in “lack of.” Not that positive an association, but a win’s a win.
Not surprisingly, dotard was on the list. Frankly, I’m surprised that it wasn’t number one. After all, words like feminism, complicit, and empathy are fairly common. Even recuse is somewhat frequently used, as when judges recuse themselves from trials, etc. But dotard! Man, what a great word! And one that “saw a 35,000% increase in lookups from last year” after Rocketman, i.e., Kim Jon Un, dubbed Trump with this nickname.
Dotard means "a person in his or her dotage" (dotage is "a state or period of senile decay marked by decline of mental poise and alertness"), and initially had the meaning "imbecile" when it began being used in the 14th century.
The word has an old-fashioned ring to it, and some journalists posited that the odd word choice could be attributed to out-of-date English-Korean dictionaries used in translating Un's comments.
Altogether, an excellent word.
Apparently, I wasn’t paying a ton of attention to last August’s eclipse, given that I didn’t recognize the word syzygy , which is “"the nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, moon, and earth during a solar or lunar eclipse) in a gravitational system."
Clear enough for you? Anyway, if you want to drop a word that has absolutely nothing to do with Donald J into a conversation, it’s pronounced SIZ-uh-jee/. (I would have guessed something close to ZIG-gy.) Of course, if you’re just going to drop it into a tweet rather than into a conversation, pronunciation matters not.
A couple of weeks ago, I had lunch with some friends, and somehow the word gyro came up This occurred because one of my friends ordered some sort of fish (or was it lobster) sandwich that was something like a gyro, and another friend said that he never orders a gyro in a Greek sandwich shop because he doesn’t know how to pronounce it. Todd is not the only one, I guess. Questions on how to pronounce gyro inspired Jimmy Fallon and country start Luke Bryan to do a number called “I Don’t Know How to Pronounce Gyro.”
For the record, if you’re in a Greek joint and want one of those shaved lamb sandwiches, it’s YEE-roh. But if it’s gyroscope or Gyro Gearloose we’re talking about, it’s JEYE-roh.
Thanks to attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and throw the provision of medical are back to the states, federalism is on the Top Ten list.
One confusing point about the word is that, while we call our national government the “federal government,” the word federalism often refers to states’ rights.
Massachusetts will likely continue to provide its citizens with medical care. We were, after all, the state that brought into existence the system that the ACA is based on. However, I do believe that we may have to build a metaphorical wall to keep out floods of medical refugees from states that aren’t quite as generous and progressive Just sayin’.
Given all the hurricanes that made the news this year – Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria – September was a big year for lookups of this word.
Lookups of hurricane often spike during and after hurricanes, though we don't think this is due to ignorance of what a hurricane is. Rather, we think people are looking up hurricane to get more detailed information.
If you want that more detailed information, you can look it up.
And if you watched the Academy Awards last winter, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway flubbed the announcement of the Best Picture winner, you’ll understand why gaffe rounds out the M-W lookup list for 2017. Gaffe means “notable mistake,” which would certainly qualify the Oscar gaffe.
I was going to say that we’ll have to see how many gaffes the dotard makes this year. But he actually doesn’t tend to make gaffes. He tends to tell outright lies. Maybe mendacious will make next year’s list…