We hardly ever use the word complicit. It’s not in common use, at least we don’t hear it that much. That has all changed.
The looking up of the word increased nearly 300 percent over the last year as complicit hit just about every hot button from politics to natural disasters, lexicographer Jane Soloman told the Associated Press as the announcement was made Monday of the word of the year.
We don’t use Dictionary.com to look up a word’s exact meaning and spelling. We use Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. We admit we have to use a dictionary, especially for spelling. We are among journalists who are poor spellers. Father mentor used to joke about his son’s constant use of a dictionary. He wondered when and where we missed the spelling boat!
For complicit our dictionary says it means “having complicity.” Well, what does “complicity” mean? According to the same dictionary it means: “Associations or participation in or as if in a wrongful act; an instance of complicity.” For the record, our dictionary didn’t have a period after “complicity” before going to the next word.
Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, when announcing he would not seek re-election, said he has children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, “Mr.President, I will not be complicit.”
The word-of-the-year news is a nice escape from politics, sexual assault, North Korea, tragedies and other news of the day.