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Dictionary.com names word of the year for 2021: ‘Allyship’

NEW YORK (AP) – Allyship, an old noun made new again, is the word of the year on Dictionary.com.

The lookup site with 70 million monthly users took the unusual step of anointing a word it added last month, even though “allyship” first appeared in the mid-1800s, said John Kelly, Associate Director Director of Content & Education said.

“That might be a surprising choice for some,” he told The Associated Press ahead of Tuesday’s announcement. “Over the past few decades, the term has evolved to take on a more specific and nuanced meaning. It’s continuing to grow and we’ve seen that in many ways. ”

The site offers two definitions for allyship: The role of an advocate for inclusion of the “disadvantaged or politicized group” in solidarity but not as a member, and the more traditional relationship of “these members.” person, group or country that associates and cooperates with another for a common purpose or purpose. ”

The word is set aside from the word “alliance,” which Dictionary.com defines in a sense to mean “the amalgamation of the efforts or interests of individuals, families, states, or organizations.”

This was the first definition that appeared most recently in the mid-2000s and continues to cause fever. After the summer of 2020 and the death of George Floyd, white allies – and from allyship – have increased as racial justice protests spread. Prior to that, outspoken allies joined the causes of LGBTQ oppression, discrimination, and social marginalization.

“This year, we have seen many prominent, public businesses and organizations begin their efforts to promote diversity, equality and inclusion. Allyship is tied to that. In the classroom, there is a hotbed around the term important race theory. Allyship is also connected to this,” Kelly said.

In addition, teachers, frontline workers and mothers who have arranged work, family duties and childcare in confinement have become allies during the pandemic last year.

With no entry for “allyship,” Kelly said the site saw a sharp increase in searches for “ally” in 2020 and a spike in 2021. It’s in the top 850 searches. number one in the thousands and thousands of words this year. Dictionary.com has expanded the definition of “ally” to include a more nuanced meaning. The terms “DEI” and “critical racial theory” first appeared as entries on the website with “allyship” this year.

The meaning of being a true ally took on a new meaning as the buzz around the word grew louder. One of the aspects of allyship, as it appears, is how badly it can go.

Among the examples of word usage in a sentence cited by Merriam-Webster is this one written by Indigenous activist Hallie Sebastian: “Poor allies are talking about the marginalized by means of acknowledge and receive recognition for the arguments that the unprivileged have made their entire lives.”

As Sheree Atcheson, executive director of global diversity, equity and inclusion wrote in Forbes, allyship is “a lifelong relationship-building process based on trust, consistency, and accountability. with marginalized individuals and/or groups”. It’s not “self-determined,” she says – the work and effort must be recognized by the people you’re looking to ally yourself with.

Allyship should be an “opportunity to grow and learn about yourself, and build trust in others,” added Atcheson.

Among the earliest evidence of the word “allyship”, in its original sense of “alliance”, is the two-volume 1849 work, “The Lord of the Manor, or, Lights and Shades of Bronze Life”. home” by British novelist Thomas Hall: “According to these considerations, it is most likely that he may have heard of Miss Clough’s alliance with Lady Bourgoin.”

Kelly delved deeper into the history of allyship in its social justice sense. While the Oxford English Dictionary dates back to the 1970s, Kelly found one text, Albert W. Hamilton’s “Allies of Blacks,” published in 1943. It discusses it extensively. about potential Negro allies in the struggle for racial equality:

“What some white libertarians are beginning to realize is that they should start looking to black people as an ally,” he wrote. “The new way of life that libertarians seek will be a sham without the racial equality that blacks seek. And the inclusion of Blacks in the daily work, in organizing, leading and rallying the support necessary to achieve a better world, can only be done on an equal footing. “

On the other side of allyship, Kelly said, “is a divisive, polarizing feeling. It’s January 6th.” He said, Allyship has become a powerful lens of dichotomy in a tumultuous cultural moment over the past two years.

Other dictionary companies in the word game of the year focus on the pandemic and its consequences for their choices. Oxford Languages, which oversees the Oxford English Dictionary, chose “vax” and Merriam-Webster chose “vaccine”. Meanwhile, Glasgow, Scotland-based Collins Dictionary obtained “NFT,” a digital token that sold for millions.

While Merriam-Webster relies solely on site search data to pick one word of the year, Dictionary.com takes a broader approach. It scours search engines, a wide range of texts, and taps into cultural influences to choose the word of the year.

https://kfor.com/news/dictionary-com-names-word-of-the-year-for-2021-allyship/ Dictionary.com names word of the year for 2021: ‘Allyship’

Dais Johnston

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