Word Trends & Stories

  1. 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 …

  2. 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 …

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    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 …

  4. 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 …

  5. 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 …

  6. The New Emoji Added In 2019 Are Some Of The Most Diverse Yet

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    How “Burnout” Went From A Casual Expression To A Weighted Word

    by Ashley Austrew Most of us are familiar with the concept of being burned out. It’s that feeling you get when you’re stressed, overwhelmed, and simply don’t have any more energy to devote to a given task, activity, … or career. Traditionally, the word burnout has been used more as a self-diagnosis or casual expression rather than treated as a medical syndrome or mental health …

  8. We Can Thank Alexander Hamilton For Giving Us These Words

    He may have been 🎶dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor🎶 … but by now we all know Alexander Hamilton grew up to be a hero and a scholar. However, did you know the first secretary of the treasury was also quite the linguist? Since Lin-Manuel Miranda turned Hamilton from a mysterious face on our $10 bill …

  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. 15 New And Unique Ways to Say “Congratulations”

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