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Nonbinary pronoun 'they' named Merriam-Webster's word of the year

Lookups for the word jumped by 313% this year, the dictionary says.

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Merriam-Webster

Merriam-Webster added the nonbinary pronoun definition of "they" to its dictionary in September.

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The nonbinary pronoun "they" was named word of the year by Merriam-Webster dictionary on Tuesday. Lookups for the word rose by 313% this year compared with last year, Merriam-Webster says.

"They" has become a way to refer to people who identify as having nonbinary gender identities. Merriam-Webster added the new definition for the word, which reads, "used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary," to its online dictionary in September.   

Use of the word in this context has been getting more mainstream attention. Earlier this year, musician Sam Smith changed change pronouns to they/them. And Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal spoke about her gender-nonconforming child, who uses "they," during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act.

Other top searched words named by Merriam-Webster this year include "quid pro quo," "impeach" and "egregious."