Dictionary.com Chooses “Complicit” As Its Word Of The Year

This December 16, 2016 photo illustration taken in Washington, DC. shows the definition for the word "Surreal" in a copy of the Webster's Desktop Dictionary. Donald Trump's upset win in the US presidential election astonished people so much that they rushed to the dictionary to look up the word everyone was using to describe the event: surreal. Indeed, Merriam-Webster's dictionary on Monday named surreal its Word of the Year 2016, the honor given to the word or term with the sharpest spike in look-ups over the previous year. Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK (CBS News) — Russian election influence, the ever-widening sexual harassment scandal, mass shootings and the opioid epidemic helped elevate the word “complicit” as Dictionary.com’s word of the year for 2017.

Look-ups of the word increased nearly 300 percent over last year as “complicit” hit just about every hot button from politics to natural disasters, lexicographer Jane Solomon told The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s formal announcement of the site’s pick.

“This year a conversation that keeps on surfacing is what exactly it means to be complicit,” she said. “Complicit has sprung up in conversations about those who speak out against powerful figures in institutions, and those who stay silent.”

The first of three major spikes for the word struck March 12. That was the day after “Saturday Night Live” aired a sketch starring Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump in a glittery gold dress peddling a fragrance called “Complicit” because: “She’s beautiful, she’s powerful, she’s complicit.”

The bump was followed by another April 5, also related to Trump, Solomon said. It was the day she appeared on “CBS This Morning,” where co-host Gayle King asked her, among other things, about the sketch and stories that she and her husband, Jared Kushner, were complicit in White House actions.

“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Trump said. “I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I’m doing. So I hope to make a positive impact.

I don’t know what it means to be complicit, but, you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and, much more importantly, that my father’s administration is the success that I know it will be.”

Find out other words that have been added to the dictionary, here.