Posts by John Kelly

  1. What Even Is A “Fortnight,” And Why Was It Trending?

    This week, Lady Gaga lit up Twitter with a simple question: “What’s fortnight?” What’s fortnight — Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) October 15, 2019 As the viral response to her tweet made plain, Gaga had apparently confused fortnight with the massively popular online video game—and homonym—Fortnite.  Gaga’s question also lit up searches on Dictionary.com for fortnight, which, compared to data from, well, a fortnight ago, went up …

  2. Getty Images

    What Does “Resilience” Mean, And Why Was It Trending?

    All politics, as they say, is personal. That truism definitely rang, well, true in the closing question of the third Democratic debate in Houston, Texas, Thursday, September 12, 2019. One of the moderators, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, asked the ten candidates on “the quality of resilience.” He went on: Every president confronts crises, defeats, and mistakes. So I want to ask each of you, what’s the …

  3. Why Did “Pandemonium” Trend This Week?

    In the past few weeks, people lined up at Popeyes, a popular restaurant chain known for its Southern-fried chicken, all over the US to get their hands on a hot and hyped new menu item: a chicken sandwich.  On Dictionary.com, meanwhile, we saw our own crowd: searches for pandemonium surged nearly 350% since mid-August, when Popeyes released the sandwich en masse. Searches for pandemonium are …

  4. What Is “Stochastic Terrorism,” And Why Is It Trending?

    On Saturday, August 3, a gunman in El Paso, Texas, took the lives of 22 people and injured many more. The next morning, another shooter claimed 9 victims in Dayton, Ohio. As people were processing these massacres, many turned to the dictionary. We observed lookups for one term, stochastic terrorism, surge 63,389% on August 4, as compared to the week prior. Topping searches on https://t.co/OeJELgy3YL …

  5. Getty

    How The Letter “X” Creates More Gender-Neutral Language

    by Rory Gory The letter X is often used to represent the unknown or the indescribable. In English, there are so few words beginning with X that in Samuel Johnson’s famous early dictionary, X was defined as, “a letter, which, though found in Saxon words, begins no word in the English language.” The mathematician and philosopher René Descartes used the letter X to represent variable …

  6. Getty

    Malpractice, Malarkey, And Other Words From The Second Democratic Debate

    The Democratic candidates squared off this week in their second, two-night debate in Detroit, Michigan, ahead of their party primaries. As the candidates made their pitch to voters for why they should top the Democratic ticket against Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, we were watching some of the standout or hot-button words they were using—and that drove viewers to look them up in …

  7. Chicago Tribune / Netflix / Allyson Riggs

    Exculpate, Mockumentary, Burpless, And Other Words That Trended On Dictionary.com This Past Week

    It’s time for another roundup of the words that got our trending word ticker atop our homepage ticking this past week. In this batch, we offer a “stirring” mix of 10 terms that trended (i.e., significantly increased by percentage measured against searches on the the previous day). We begin with our top three lookups. Then, we’ll highlight some words that are notable due to the …

  8. Nephanalysis, Sitar, Wombat, And Other Words That Trended On Dictionary.com This Week

    What do spivvy, smuggery, stingo, and schlemiel have in common? Sure, they begin with the letter S. But what’s more, they are also some of the leading lookups on Dictionary.com since July 8. Since our introduction of it in our last trending writeup, our ticker has been tirelessly scrolling across our homepage.  And, we’ve continued to watch. So, let’s get started with our top five …

  9. Slang And Spelling Bees Influence Word Searches Over The Past Three Months

    We’re already halfway through 2019, which means we had to look back at our word search data! We love data, OK. Plus, the search trends on Dictionary.com from April through June 2019 did not disappoint. Politics, of course, drove many of the searches. And, uh, a quick warning: there are some references to adult content ahead. (Hey, we don’t control the words, folks. We document …

  10. The Words That Make Us Tick: What Users Are Looking Up On Dictionary.com Every Day

    You may have noticed a nifty new tool scrolling across the top of the homepage of Dictionary.com. But, what makes it tick? What is the trending word ticker, and how does it work? Rather than reading out stock prices, our ticker pulls real-time data on daily word search trends in our dictionary. The percentage is a measurement of how many searches there are for a …

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