Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is ‘they’

Image viab Instagram
Words by Lydia Crist

The non-binary pronoun.

The American online dictionary has revealed ‘they’ is its word of the year. The website added a definition: “used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is non-binary” to its list of meanings to the word.

The selection comes as its number of searches increased by 313% since 2018, reflecting its frequent use a singular pronoun for non-binary individuals. 

In September, non-binary musician Sam Smith verified that ‘they’ is the correct pronoun to use for non-binary people. 


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My Aunty Just text this to me. I wanted to share with you all on National pronouns day xx

A post shared by Sam Smith (@samsmith) on

Historically, Merriam-Webster’s selection for word of the year has been a reflection of society’s progression and focus. The word of the year in 2018 was ‘justice’, while 2017 was ‘feminism’, 2016 ‘surreal’, 2015 ‘-ism’, and 2014 ‘culture’. 


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