Dictionary.com has announced "complicit" as its defining word for 2017, citing the term's prevalence in online searches and for its cultural importance in the current national mood. The online dictionary attributed the explosion of interest in the word to President Donald Trump's daughter, White House special adviser Ivanka Trump.
On Nov. 27, the Dictionary unveiled "complicit" as the Word of the Year. The online resource stated on its official website that the word served "as a symbol of the year's most meaningful events and lookup trends."
The dictionary defines term as "choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing."
On March 12, "Saturday Night Live" parodied Ivanka in a comedy sketch starring actress Scarlett Johansson. The sketch asserted through narration that Ivanka had been hypocritical for advocating on women's rights issues while also supporting her father after he had been caught boasting about kissing women without consent on an audio tape in October 2016, The Hill reports.
"She's Ivanka," the segment's narrator said. "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 sketch then featured a perfume dubbed "Complicit."
"A feminist, an advocate, a champion for women," the narrator continued. "But, like, how? She's loyal, devoted, but probably should've bounced after the whole 'Access Hollywood' bus thing. ... Complicit. The fragrance for the woman who can stop all this. But won't."
The Dictionary site noted that online searches for the word complicit surged by 10,000 percent on the evening that the sketch aired.
On April 4, Ivanka addressed her father's critics and the accusation that she was allegedly "complicit" in his administration.
"If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact then I'm complicit," Ivanka told CBS News. "I don't know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing."
The White House adviser added: "I don't know what it means to be complicit, but you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and much more importantly that my father's administration is the success that I know it will be."
Dictionary.com said that online searches for "complicit" spiked by over 11,000 after Ivanka's interview and noted that her definition of the term was incorrect.
The online resource added that "complicit" was a recurring theme throughout 2017, citing the exposing of powerful figures who had committed sexual misconduct in business, entertainment and politics.
"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. ... As we do the hard work of processing what this all means, we must examine our own behavior and ask ourselves some difficult questions," the Dictionary site stated. "Could I have spoken out in the past . . . and didn’t? Did I go along with something because it was the path of least resistance?"