Word of the year for 2017 is "complicit", according to dictionary.com.
In 2016, the word of the year was "xenophobia".

According to dictionary.com, "the Word of the Year serves as a symbol of the year's most meaningful events and look-up trends."

Dictionary.com defines complicit as "choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act." Here are the events which might have motivated their decision. Most of them involve United States President Donald Trump, reports News.com.au.

Ivanka 'complicit' in Trump administration?

Dictionary.com said the largest spike in interest toward the word 'complicit' happened after a Saturday Night Live skit. The skit portrayed Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka Trump in an advertisement for a luxury perfume called "Complicit: The fragrance for the woman who could stop all this, but won't".

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The day after, Ivanka appeared on a CBS morning show and said: "If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I'm complicit."

Americans were understandably confused by Ivanka's distortion of the word's meaning, leading many to look it up themselves.

Is Ivanka Trump complicit in her father's actions? SNL thinks so. Photo / SNL
Is Ivanka Trump complicit in her father's actions? SNL thinks so. Photo / SNL

Trump complicit in Russia's election hack?

During the US Presidential election, waves of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee were released. After American intelligence agencies determined that Russia was to blame, rumours emerged that the Trump administration was complicit in the fiasco.

A series of events seemed to fuel the rumours. In July, Donald Trump Jr. admitted he was happy to receive dirt on Hillary Clinton from Russian officials. And in May, after launching an investigation into Russia's interference into the 2016 elections, FBI Director James Comey was fired by Mr Trump.

President Donald Trump has defended Russian President Vladimir Putin on multiple occasions. Photo / AP
President Donald Trump has defended Russian President Vladimir Putin on multiple occasions. Photo / AP

Society complicit in Harvey Weinstein scandal?

Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, allegations of sexual misconduct were levelled at a number of other Hollywood figures including: Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck and Louis CK.

It sparked a conversation about the complicity of society and individual organisations in covering up and minimising the importance of sexual misconduct.

In Australia, viewers have slammed Channel 9 for being complicit in the cover-up of sexual harassment allegations against Don Burke.

Harvey Weinstein is the result of society's years of complicity in trivialising sexual harassment. Photo / AP
Harvey Weinstein is the result of society's years of complicity in trivialising sexual harassment. Photo / AP

Trump complicit in the rise of White Nationalism?

In August, white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville marched in the streets, engaging in a violent altercation with counterprotesters.

Mr Trump was slow to condemn the white nationalist protesters by name, instead opting to place blame on "both sides". The 'other side' he referred to was an extreme left-wing group called Antifa which has a history of using violence against right-wing figures.

Trump's comments made him look complicit in the rise of white nationalism.

White Nationalist demonstrator walks into Lee Park in Charlottesville. Photo / AP
White Nationalist demonstrator walks into Lee Park in Charlottesville. Photo / AP

Republicans complicit in furthering Trump's agenda?

In October, Republican Senator Jeff Flake announced his decision to retire citing Trump as the reason.

Senator Flake used the word 'complicit' five times during his announcement on the Senate floor. The Republican Party's complicity in the Trump administration was the central message of his powerful speech.

"I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr President, I will not be complicit," Senator Flake said.