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Merriam-Webster declares 'they' its 2019 word of the year

Posted at 6:09 AM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 06:09:52-05

(AP) — Merriam-Webster has named the pronoun "they" its 2019 word of the year.

The word and its emergence as a nonbinary alternative to "he" and "she" experienced a 313-percent increase in look-ups on Merriam-Webster.com.

Editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski says he was surprised by the data but the word has been the subject of a lot of talk this year.

Look-ups for "they" spiked in January with the rise of model Oslo Grace on top fashion runways. In September, the dictionary's site experienced another big increase in look-ups for "they" when pop star Sam Smith wrote on social media that their preferred pronouns were "they" and "them."