What Merriam-Webster's words of the year say about the past decade

Updated 5:02 AM ET, Sat December 21, 2019

(CNN)What's in a word?

A lot, if you ask the folks at Merriam-Webster.
Merriam-Webster's 2019 word of the year is they. Last year's word was justice. And the year before that, it was feminism.
Peter Sokolowski, a lexicographer and Merriam-Webster's editor at large, said that Merriam-Webster doesn't set out to capture the zeitgeist in its words of the year lists, like some other dictionaries and linguistic organizations do.
Instead, Sokolowski said that Merriam-Webster's word of the year is determined by data: it must have seen a significant increase in lookups on the dictionary's website and app from previous years.