Books

The Dictionary.com Word of the Year is a not so subtle dig at pretty much the whole world

The Trump family feels especially targeted.

By Kate Wagner

Subtweeting, for the uninitiated, is when someone pointedly mocks or criticises someone else without specifically mentioning them. So when Trump tweets about “fake news” as soon as CNN publishes another story but doesn’t explicitly mention them, that’s a classic subtweet.

Well, Dictionary.com has gone ahead and subtweeted the whole world with their word of the year.

So far in 2017 we’ve rolled back anti-discriminatory laws, had gay men confined to concentration camps in Chechnya, abandoned innocent men without food or security on Manus Island and seen countless accusations of sexual harassment against men in power over decades have surfaced.

Complicit seems pretty on the nose.

The decision was inspired mainly by Ivanka Trump, although we’re sure she’d reject the honour.

Searches for the word surged after Scarlett Johansson’s famous SNL mock commercial for Ivanka’s perfume.

"She's beautiful. She's powerful. She's . . . complicit," a narrator purrs.

"Complicit: The fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won't. Also available in a cologne for Jared."

The next day, searches for complicit increased 10,000 per cent on Dictionary.com and spiked on other online dictionaries, such as Merriam-Webster.

"As 2017 comes to a close, it's time for us to reflect on the words that impacted all of us this year - for better or for worse," Dictionary.com said in announcing its decision Monday.

"The word complicit has sprung up in conversations this year about those who speak out against powerful figures and institutions and about those who stay silent."

"We chose our Word of the Year, in part, because of noteworthy stories of those who have refused to be complicit," the dictionary said.

"In the face of oppression and wrongdoing, this refusal to be complicit has been a grounding force of 2017."