This was announced by Miriam-Webster today.
Merriam-Webster has named “they” its word of the year.
The US dictionary also recently added a new definition of “they”, reflecting its use as a singular personal pronoun for non-binary people.
Searches for “they” on Merriam-Webster’s website were 313% higher this year than they were in 2018.
Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, told the Associated Press news agency that searches shot up when Oslo Grace was rising to prominence, when Sam Smith came out, and when US congresswoman Pramila Jayapal spoke about her gender-nonconforming child while arguing for LGBTQ rights legislation in April.
“It reflects a surprising fact: even a basic term – a personal pronoun – can rise to the top of our data,” the dictionary said in a statement.
“Although our look-ups are often driven by events in the news, the dictionary is also a primary resource for information about language itself, and the shifting use of ‘they’ has been the subject of increasing study and commentary in recent years.
“English famously lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun to correspond neatly with singular pronouns like ‘everyone’ or ‘someone’, and as a consequence ‘they’ has been used for this purpose for over 600 years.”
In addition to being respectful towards the gender non-binary community, it also immensely simplifies things when trying to write in the third person.