Dictionary.com names alliance as word of the year for 2021 | Books


Allyship is the Dictionary.com Word of the Year from the old name to the new.

The site with 70 million monthly users took the unusual step of anointing a word it added last month, although the “alliance” first surfaced in the mid-1800s, said John Kelly, Associate Director of Content and Education.

“It might be a surprising choice for some,” he said. “In recent decades, the term has evolved to take on a more nuanced and specific meaning. It continues to evolve and we have seen it in several ways.

The site offers two definitions of the alliance: the role of a person who advocates for the inclusion of a “marginalized or politicized group” out of solidarity but not as a member, and the more traditional relationship of “people, groups”. or nations associating and cooperating with one another for a common cause or goal ”.

The word is separated from “alliance,” which Dictionary.com defines in a sense as “a merger of efforts or interests by individuals, families, states, or organizations.”

The first definition of alliance took off in the mid-2000s. After the summer of 2020 and the death of George Floyd, white allies – and the word alliance – proliferated as protests of racial justice spread. Before that, heterosexual allies joined in the causes of LGBTQ oppression, discrimination and marginalization.

“This year, we have seen many high-profile companies and organizations, publicly, undertake efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Allyship is related to this. In the classroom, there is a flashpoint around the term “critical race theory”. Allyship is tied to that as well, ”Kelly said.

Teachers, frontline workers and mothers juggling jobs, housework and childcare during the lockdown won allies when the pandemic took hold last year.

Without an entry for “ally,” Kelly said the site saw a sharp increase in searches for “ally” in 2020 and strong increases in 2021. It was in the top 850 for searches of thousands and thousands of words this year. year. Dictionary.com has expanded the definition of “ally” to include the more nuanced meaning.

The terms “DEI” and “critical breed theory” debuted as entries on the site with “ally” this year.

One aspect of the alliance is how bad it can go. Among the examples of use of the word cited by Merriam-Webster is that of Indigenous activist Hallie Sebastian: “A poor ally speaks to the marginalized by taking credit and receiving recognition for the arguments that the unprivileged.” have advanced all their lives. “

On the other side of the alliance, Kelly said, “is a sense of division, of polarization. It was January 6 ”and the attack on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump. Allyship, he said, has become a powerful prism in terms of dichotomy in a chaotic cultural era over the past two years.

Other dictionary companies in the Word Game of the Year have focused on the pandemic and its fallout. The Oxford English Dictionary chose “vax” and Merriam-Webster chose “vaccine”. Collins Dictionary chose “NFT,” digital tokens that sell for millions.


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