“Identity” Is Dictionary.com’s Word Of The Year

Dictionary.com has announced that its word of the year for 2015 is “identity,” which seems apt for a year in which gay marriage was legalized at the federal level, we obsessed over Caitlyn Jenner’s transition (for better or worse), and Rachel Dolezal attempted to claim that a person could be “transracial.”

In conjunction with the announcement, the site is adding a new definition of “identify” – a verb sense that’s used in the phrase “identify as” – as well as “code-switching” and “gender expression.” Apparently the folks over at Dictionary.com have seen a significant uptick in gender-related search terms, including “transgender,” “cisgender,” “pansexual,” and “asexual” this year, so, again: Fitting.

Remember last December, when Slate correctly observed that everyone was outraged all the time in 2014? This feels like the same thing, both inasmuch as Dictionary.com is correctly observing that the theme of the year 2015 was identification and inasmuch as I’m personally a little worn out by the whole conversation surrounding identity (the conversation really started in earnest in 2014, and I work for a women’s lifestyle blog, so you can imagine the number of editorials I have consumed on the issue). I look forward to the day when adding identity-related terms to the dictionary isn’t news anymore, when everyone can just be who and what they are and receive and expect little fanfare for it.

But, the announcement seems to indicate that that day is coming. To all of my fellow transitioners this year, congrats and a happy, peaceful, and correctly-identified 2016 to you!


[Image via Shutterstock]

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