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Dictionary Word Of The Year

Dictionary.com chose "complicit" as its word of the year for 2017

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Dictionary.com has chosen "complicit" as 2017's word of the year.

Complicit is defined as "choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having complicity."

Look-ups of the word increased nearly 300 percent over last year as "complicit" hit just about every hot button from politics to natural disasters, lexicographer Jane Solomon told The Associated Press.

This year a conversation that keeps on surfacing is what exactly it means to be complicit," Soloman said. "Complicit has sprung up in conversations about those who speak out against powerful figures in institutions, and those who stay silent."

The first of three major spikes for the word was on March 12. That was the day after "Saturday Night Live" aired a sketch starring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump in a glittery gold dress peddling a fragrance called "Complicit" because: "She's beautiful, she's powerful, she's complicit."

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The second spike in lookups happened on April 5, after Ivanka appeared on "CBS This Morning" and told Gayle King, "I don't know what it means to be complicit."

The last major spike occurred on Oct. 24, the day Arizona Republican Jeff Flake announced from the Senate floor that he would not seek re-election, harshly criticizing President Donald Trump and urging other members of the party not to stand silently with the president.

"I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit," Flake said.

The site chooses its word of the year by heading straight for data first, scouring look-ups by day, month and year to date and how they correspond to noteworthy events, Solomon said.

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Last year, dictionary.com's word of the year was "xenophobia."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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