The hashtag garnered the vast majority of votes from the committee, which consists of over 200 linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, editors, students, and independent scholars.
#Blacklivesmatter beat out other 2014 favorites including "bae" (a sweetheart or romantic partner), "columbusing" (cultural appropriation, especially the act of a white person claiming to discover things already known to minority cultures) and "manspreading" (of a man, to sit with one’s legs wide on public transit in a way that blocks other seats).
Ben Zimmer, chairman of the American Dialect Society's new words committee, explained how the group came to its decision.
“While #blacklivesmatter may not fit the traditional definition of a word, it demonstrates how powerfully a hashtag can convey a succinct social message,” he revealed. “Language scholars are paying attention to the innovative linguistic force of hashtags.”
The organization also voted "basic" and "lumbersexual" as two of their Most Unnecessary Words of 2014. We don't disagree.