Some years, TIME doesn't narrow it down to one person (or choose a person at all). Here's a look at the generic people, groups of people, and things that have received this honor.
  1. The Computer (1982)
    "In the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center a month ago, more than 1,000 computer companies large and small were showing off their wares, their floppy discs and disc drives, joy sticks and modems, to a mob of some 50,000 buyers, middlemen and assorted technology buffs."
  2. Earth (1988)
    TIME acknowledged the unorthodox “Man of the Year” choice in the story’s headline: “What on EARTH are we doing?"
  3. Americans Under Age 25 in 1966 (1966)
    Though the title was given to the generation overall, a few famous names were singled out as examples: 23-year-old chess genius Bobby Fischer, 19-year-old world record miler Jim Ryun, 24-year-old folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie, 20-year-old artist Jamie Wyeth, 25-year-old actress Julie Christie, among others.
  4. The Middle Americans (1969)
    “The Middle Americans tend to be grouped in the nation's heartland more than on its coasts. ... They tend toward the middle-aged and the middlebrow. They are defined as much by what they are not as by what they are. As a rule, they are not the poor or the rich. Still, many wealthy business executives are Middle Americans. H. Ross Perot, the Texas millionaire who organized a group called 'United We Stand Inc.' to support the President on the war, is an example."
  5. The American Fighting-Man (1950)
    "His two outstanding characteristics seem to be contradictory. He is more of an individualist than soldiers of other nations, and at the same time he is far more conscious of, and dependent on, teamwork. He fights as he lives, a part of a vast, complicated machine—but a thinking, deciding part, not an inert cog.”
  6. The Peacemakers (1993)
    Also known as Yasser Arafat, F.W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Yitzhak Rabin, the Peacemakers had a busy ’93. Rabin and Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn as Bill Clinton looked on, while Mandela and de Klerk worked tirelessly toward a new South Africa. The latter pair won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 while Arafat and Rabin, along with Shimon Peres, won in 1994.
  7. The Protester (2011)
    "No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent. In 2011, protesters didn't just voice their complaints; they changed the world."
  8. American Women (1975)
    Women of 1975 included Betty Ford, Billie Jean King, feminist Susan Brownmiller and Carol Sutton, the first female editor of a major daily newspaper (Louisville’s Courier-Journal).
  9. American Scientists (1960)
    "It has been said, almost 90% of all the scientists that the world has ever produced are alive today. By the very nature of that curve, 1960 was the richest of all scientific years, and the years ahead must be even more fruitful,” the magazine predicted.
  10. The Whistleblowers (2002)
    "In a year when our trust in American institutions was tested, Sherron Watkins of Enron, Coleen Rowley of the FBI and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom found the strength to stand for what's right."
  11. The Ebola Fighters (2014)
    Last year's winner.
  12. You (2006)