Members of the Trump administration have allegedly given classified information to Russian officials, brokered a suspicious deal to rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid, and communicated with hostile foreign governments.
With that in mind, many have accused some officials in the White House of enabling and abetting possible wrongdoing. During an interview on CBS This Morning back in April, Ivanka Trump responded to criticism that she and her husband, Jared Kushner, are complicit with President Trump's agenda.
"If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact then I'm complicit," Trump responded. Then she admitted that she didn't know the word's definition: "I don't know what it means to be complicit, but you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job."
Look, we've all had embarrassing moments getting a word wrong when put on the spot – especially under high-stress moments like an interview. So luckily, Dictionary.com is here to help everyone learn this particular word's proper definition: "Complicit" is the site's Word of the Year, NPR reports.
"Complicit means 'choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.' Or, put simply, it means being, at some level, responsible for something...even if indirectly," Dictionary.com explains. That should clear up anyone's idea that being complicit is a synonym for "assisting," because it's not a positive action.
According to The Washington Post, searches for the definition of "complicit" spiked three times in 2016. The first occurred back in March after Saturday Night Live aired a sketch titled "Complicit" in which Scarlett Johansson played the first daughter. It spiked again during her aforementioned April interview. And, in all fairness, the third spike wasn't Ivanka-related – it came on October 24, when Senator Jeff Flake declared that he would not seek re-election because he didn't want to be "complicit" with President Trump.
There's no time like the present to examine what it truly means to be complicit. As the Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to unfold, it's become clear that Weinstein Company board members looked the other way and allowed his alleged behavior to continue, meaning they were – you guessed it – complicit.
"Our choice for Word of the Year is as much about what is visible as it is about what is not. It’s a word that reminds us that even inaction is a type of action," Dictionary.com added. "The silent acceptance of wrongdoing is how we’ve gotten to this point. We must not let this continue to be the norm. If we do, then we are all complicit."
We hope this answers Ivanka's question about the meaning of the word complicit once and for all. And, as Dictionary.com reminds us, a culture of silence has pervaded everywhere from Hollywood to politics and beyond. The Weinstein scandal may be just one example, but people everywhere have been looking the other way for decades when it comes to sexual misconduct, corruption, and atrocities — so it can't hurt to take a long look at our own silence as well.
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