Merriam-Webster’s choice, feminism, comes as no surprise: Starting with the women’s marches in Washington D.C. and in other major U.S. cities held the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, and ending with the #metoo movement, which brought the issue of harassment and violence against women to light around the world, women’s and feminist issues took center stage all year.
But Oxford’s choice, youthquake, is causing more than a few people to scratch their heads. Following Britain’s general election in June 2017, The Guardian reported that the “the biggest age gap between the parties since the 1970s” was proof of a youthquake in the U.K. Although the word has been part of the English language since the 1960s, it hasn’t quite reached the mainstream yet. In fact, after Oxford Dictionaries’ announcement, a frequent question being asked about the word was “what does it mean?”.