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News's 2022 Word of the Year Is 'Woman'

Word of the year is "woman"

The slippery term “belongs to each and every woman – however they define themselves.”

The word of the year, according to, is "woman."

Defined as "an adult female person," the choice "reflects how the intersection of gender, identity, and language dominates the current cultural conversation and shapes much of our work as a dictionary," according to a statement from

The definition is inclusive of trans women.

According to, the biggest spike in searches for "woman" occurred at the end of March, during Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation hearing.

Senator Marsha Blackburn asked, "Can you provide a definition for the word woman?" to which Brown replied, "No I can't."

Around this time, searches for the word increased by 1,400%.

Another spike occurred when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade at the end of June. This attack on bodily autonomy prompted those to reconsider their language: Not all "women" can give birth, and not all people who give birth are "women."

Overall, this year saw twice the typical search volume for "woman."

"The dictionary reflects how people use words in the real world," said's statement. However, "it is not the last word on what defines a woman."

"The word belongs to each and every woman - however they define themselves."

Other contenders for's word of the year were the Ukraine flag emoji (not exactly a word), "quiet quitting", and "Wordle."

The's announcement has, unsurprisingly, prompted backlash from right-wing outlets such as Fox News.

Following in's wake, the Cambridge Dictionary has updated its definition of "woman."

While the first definition remains "an adult female human being," the second definition is "an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth."

The definition of "man" was also updated.

Earlier this year, Merriam-Webster received threats for updating its definition of "girl" to include "a person whose gender identity is female." It also updated its definition of "female" to include "having a gender identity that is the opposite of male."

It's notable that, in 2019, Merriam-Webster declared singular "they" the word of the year.

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