Dictionary.com declares ‘Allyship’ the word of the year 2021 • GCN
As 2021 draws to a close, “Allyship” has become Dictionary.com’s word of the year.
“The vastness of such a year could never be fully summed up in a single word,” read a statement on the dictionary’s website. “But there’s one word that’s tied to so much of what we’ve been through in 2021: alliance, our 2021 word of the year.”
This is a first for the online dictionary, as the chosen word has just been added to its database at the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, its root, “ally,” was among the top 850 search terms, bringing the site “an influx of users throughout 2020 and 2021,” according to happy times.
the @Dictionarycom the word of the year is “ally”. Judy Shepard reminds us that “the purpose of the alliance is to achieve equity and inclusion… The alliance is not comfortable, it is not fun, it is not easy, but it’s so necessary.” https://t.co/z5jxKqEB3E pic.twitter.com/bhaD7iitA6
— Matthew Shepard Foundation (@MattShepardFDN) December 20, 2021
“It might be a surprising choice for some,” said John Kelly, director of content and education for Dictionary.com. “Over the past few decades, the term has evolved to take on a more nuanced and specific meaning. It continues to evolve and we have seen it in many ways.
While the word “covenant” is typically used in reference to LGBTQ+ or black communities, 2021 has also seen the term’s usage expand to frontline workers during the pandemic, as reported by Dictionary.com.
“This year, we have seen many high-profile, publicly visible companies and organizations begin efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. The alliance is linked to this. In the classroom, there is a flashpoint around the term critical race theory. Allyship is also related to this.
Dictionary.com defines “covenant” as “the status or role of a person who actively advocates and works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of this group but in solidarity with its struggle and its point of view and under its direction.
Word of the year 2021, by @DictionarycomEast…
I am here for this. https://t.co/vIAQUyVL9b
— Deena Shakir (@deenashakir) December 13, 2021
The Digital Dictionary said in a statement: “While we must recognize that alliance efforts are too often insufficient and flawed, the word nevertheless stands out for its role in leading the way out of the continuing crises of 2020 for a better 2022. “.
This news comes just weeks after the French dictionary added the gender-neutral pronoun “iel” to its pages, as a third person singular pronoun that can refer to a person of any gender. This pronoun has become popular within the LGBTQ+ community in France in recent years.
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