Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2019 is . . . “they.” Specifically when it’s used as a gender-neutral replacement for “he or she,” or as the pronoun for a person with a nonbinary gender identity.
The number of people looking up “they” on Merriam-Webster’s website went up 313% in 2019.
So how do people feel about using “they” as a pronoun? A new survey asked if they’d find it easy or hard to use a gender-neutral pronoun for someone if they asked for it.
52% of people say it’d be easy . . . and 35% say it’d be difficult. This isn’t a surprise, but the younger you are, the easier you think it’d be to do.
Some of the other words Merriam-Webster considered for Word of the Year are: Quid pro quo . . . impeach . . . crawdad . . . egregious . . . and clemency. Yes, crawdad snuck in there, you’re not hearing things.