Merriam-Webster have declared the personal pronoun ‘they’ their word of the year based on a 313% increase in look-ups on the company’s search site this year compared to 2018.
The company monitors spikes in searches on their website and say ‘they’ got an early start in January with the rise of Oslo Grace. The model identifies as transgender nonbinary and walks in both men’s and women’s fashion shows around the world.
Another spike occurred in April with a U.S. Rep talking about her gender-nonconforming child during a house committee hearing and in September when pop star Sam Smith wrote on social media their preferred pronouns they and them.
Merriam-Webster recently added a new definition to its online dictionary to reflect use of ‘they’ as relating to a person whose gender identity is nonbinary.