Singular “They” Is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year

"There's no doubt that its use is established in the English language."

They/them pronouns are not only grammatically correct—as of today, they’ve officially scored the Merriam-Webster Dictionary seal of approval.

The popular English language dictionary declared singular they 2019’s Word of the Year on Tuesday, citing a huge 313% year-to-year uptick in searches for the pronoun on its website.

“English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun to correspond neatly with singular pronouns like everyone or someone, and as a consequence they has been used for this purpose for over 600 years,” reps for Merriam-Webster wrote in a blog post announcing its 2019 Word of the Year.

As NewNowNext reported earlier this year, Merriam-Webster officially added singular they to its website in September, just months after the trans-inclusive terms gender non-conforming, top surgery, and bottom surgery all gained new entries.

The dictionary’s press team also noted singular they’s popularity among nonbinary people, who often use it as a means of connoting their gender nonconformity:

More recently, though, they has also been used to refer to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary, a sense that is increasingly common in published, edited text, as well as social media and in daily personal interactions between English speakers. There’s no doubt that its use is established in the English language, which is why it was added to the dictionary this past September.

Merriam-Webster even shouted out nonbinary singer-songwriter Sam Smith, who announced that they now use they/them pronouns back in September.

Smith is hardly the first LGBTQ celebrity to opt for singular they pronouns. Pose star Indya Moore, Billions actor Asia Kate Dillon, and Atypical breakout star Brigette Lundy-Paine, who also came out in 2019, all go by they/them.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.