Merriam-Webster declares 'they' its 2019 word of the year

Published: Dec. 10, 2019 at 4:42 PM CST
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Merriam-Webster has named the pronoun "they" its 2019 word of the year.

The word and its emergence as a nonbinary alternative to "he" and "she" experienced a 313 percent increase in look-ups on

Editor at large Peter Sokolowski says he was surprised by the data but the word has been the subject of a lot of talk this year. Look-ups for "they" spiked in January with the rise of model Oslo Grace on top fashion runways.

In September, the dictionary's site experienced another big increase in lookups for "they" when pop star Sam Smith wrote on social media that their preferred pronouns were "they" and "them."