Word Trends & Stories

  1. What Is In The Oath Of Office?

    Like clockwork, we hear the presidential oath of office every four years. Thirty-five words that basically give the incoming Chief Executive the keys to the proverbial car. And the nuclear launch codes. The National Museum of American History says that Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution “requires that before presidents can assume their duties they must take the oath of office.” Once the incoming …

  2. Text that says "Indigenous" and lists Native American tribes on a dark blue background

    “Columbus Day” vs. “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”: What Should This Holiday Be Called?

    The death of George Floyd in May 2020 has sparked a cultural reckoning with systemic racism and violence in the US against Black, Brown, and Indigenous people, present and past—including the very story many of us are taught about the “discovery” of America. Statues of Christopher Columbus, whose landing in America is commemorated on October 12 each year, have been in some instances officially taken …

  3. image of two hands holding each other on a blue blackground.

    Why Words like “Choice,” “Change,” and “Conversion” Can Harm LGBTQ People

    by Rory Gory No matter your sexual orientation or gender identity, all people have something in common. There are many things in life that we can choose or change, such as how we decide to express ourselves, the relationships we commit to, or the dreams we pursue. And then there are things in life that happen to us whether or not we want them to: …

  4. How Words For Tastes Became Words For Traits

  5. How Did April Reign Create The Hashtag #OscarsSoWhite?

    Hashtags are great for getting a conversation going. But how do you create one, and how does it go viral? April Reign answered some of these questions.
  6. What’s Wrong With The Word “Addict”?

    The word addict has been around in English since at least the 1500s, adapted from the Latin addictus, meaning “assigned, surrendered.” But the way we talk about people with addiction is changing, and here at Dictionary.com, we’re changing along with it. In a major update to Dictionary.com, our lexicographers have replaced all instances of addict used as a noun with “a person addicted to” or …

  7. Democrats And Republicans: Why Are They Donkeys And Elephants?

    While the bald eagle is a national symbol for the United States, the two major political parties that govern it are often represented by two different animals: a donkey for the Democratic Party and an elephant for the Republican Party. These animals are commonly linked with these two parties in everything from political analysis to bumper stickers. Why these two animals, though? Why not an …

  8. Are These COVID-19 Words The Worst To Come Out Of The Pandemic?

    What a year 2020 has been—and it’s not even over yet! With any new global event, new words tend to pop up, for better or worse, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. We know many of the world’s greatest debates are held forth, of course, on Twitter. What color was that dress: blue or gold? (Definitely blue.) After watching Tiger King, did you realize …

  9. Fall Once Had A Different Name

    We may now call it fall, but once upon a time, the season that comes after summer but before winter was referred to simply as harvest. An old name for fall According to the written record, harvest is the earliest name for the third season of the year. It’s found in Old English as hærfest, a word of Germanic stock, perhaps with an underlying, ancient sense …

  10. The Signature Words Of President Trump