Dictionary.com picks 'complicit' as 2017 word of the year

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

“This year a conversation that keeps on surfacing is what exactly it means to be complicit,” lexicographer Jane Solomon told The Associated Press in explaining the choice.

“Complicit has sprung up in conversations about those who speak out against powerful figures in institutions, and those who stay silent.”

She said searches for the word this year over last year shot up almost 300 percent.

The first surge happened in March following a "Saturday Night Live" skit called "Complicit." The skit mocked Ivanka Trump, with Scarlett Johansson playing the first daughter in a commercial for a new fragrance.

“And a woman like her deserves a fragrance all her own. A scent made just for her. Because she's beautiful. She's powerful. She's complicit," the ad's narrator reads as a bottle of “Complicit” perfume is shown.

The second jump came after Ivanka Trump said during an April interview she didn't know what it meant to be "complicit."

The third spike came after comments by Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.) last month, in which he blasted President Trump and announced he was not running for another term.

“I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit,” Flake said during the speech on the Senate floor.

Solomon also attributed the increase in searches for complicit to the wave of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations leveled against public figures in Hollywood, the media and politics.

Dictionary.com said on its website that the choice of the word this year is "as much about what is visible as it is about what is not."

"It’s a word that reminds us that even inaction is a type of action," the website said.

"The silent acceptance of wrongdoing is how we’ve gotten to this point. We must not let this continue to be the norm. If we do, then we are all complicit."

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