"We do see evidence that the word was used in the 19th century in a medical sense, for the physical characteristics of a developing teenager, before it was used as a political term, if you will", Sokolowski said.
Another top trending word for 2017 was "complicit", connected to Trump's sacking of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Ivanka Trump's comment that she did not know what the word meant - which was then parodied in a skit for television show "Saturday Night Live".
The word "feminism" has been part of most conversations this year.
The dictionary's current definitions of feminism are "the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" and "organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests".
Merriam-Webster bestows the "Word of the Year" honor on the word or term with the sharpest spike in look-ups over the previous year. It also saw several spikes in lookups that corresponded to various news reports and events during the year.
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Other top words looked up this year were "complicit", "rescue" and "empathy".
The dictionary said another much-researched word in 2017 was "complicit" which has been widely used in stories about President Trump's firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey and about the inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election.
Topping the list this year, as reported by EW, is "feminism", which is believed to have been driven heavily by the Trump administration, as well as news coverage of the Women's March, and when Trump Administration advisor Kellyanne Conway revealed that she did not define herself as a feminist.
"And this fall, as the "#MeToo movement took off - and millions of women began sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault - the word soared again in the dictionary's online searches. It is not putting the rights of one person before another.