Word Trends & Stories

  1. Where Does The Name January Come From?

    If you were asked to pick which month is most often associated with deep reflection, you’d probably choose January. Known for recaps and resolutions, the new year starts with retrospection (as we bemoan past regrets and celebrate successes), then moves forward with hopes for the year ahead! So, in January, we’re all a little bit like Janus, the Roman deity for whom the month is …

  2. The Meteoric Rise Of The Word “Influencer”

    By Jane Solomon The word influencer has been used in English since the mid-1600s, though of course back then it wasn’t a job title. In recent years, the term has become a catch-all for a certain kind of career track that is at the center of a burgeoning but profitable industry. As influencer continues to expand in English and pull new terms and meanings into …

  3. Ultima Thule, Bandersnatch, And Other Trending Words On Dictionary.com

    Thanks to the holidays, we’re serving up two weeks worth of words that have trended on Dictionary.com! From Santa Claus to outer space, here’s what had folks searching for meaning. Ultima Thule Space fans spent the week watching as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by the most distant space object ever explored. Dubbed Ultima Thule, the object is some 4 billion miles from Earth. So, …

  4. Do You Know Which Of These Words Were Inspired By People?

    Did you know the word sandwich is named for a person? That’s right, the lunchbox special enfolding all food groups between two slices of bread is named for the 4th Earl of Sandwich, an English aristocrat who lived in the 1700s. Words named after people are called eponyms. How acquainted are you with the people who inspired these words? Take this quiz to see what …

  5. The Most Searched Words Of 2018 On Dictionary.com

    What could words like laurel, dog whistle, lodestar, and self-made possibly have in common? These words and others like them sent hundreds of thousands of folks to Dictionary.com in 2018, searching for answers. Whether you were challenging your friends and family to declare themselves #TeamLaurel or #TeamYanny or playing armchair detective with the words in a cryptic New York Times op-ed, Dictionary.com was here to …

  6. Prognosticator, Herpetologist, And Other Trending Words This Week

    Did you have your eyes on the news this week? Here are the words that made headlines and drove searches on Dictionary.com! Prognosticator The word prognosticator tends to get its biggest use in February, when a groundhog is hauled out to forecast the arrival of spring. But the noun, which means “one who forecasts or predicts (something future) from present indications or signs,” jumped onto …

  7. “You Guys”: Is There A Better Option?

    Hey, y’all, it’s time to talk about you guys. We don’t mean you specifically … but the term itself. For years, the phrase you guys has been employed as a useful workaround when addressing a mixed-gender group. But as gender norms evolve, the usefulness and appropriateness of you guys comes into question. The gendered baggage of this term has some calling for its retirement from …

  8. These Idioms Were Turned Into Some Of TV’s Most Popular Shows

    Television has a habit of repurposing and repackaging common sayings into names of shows, from Breaking Bad to Six Feet Under, and it’s easy to understand why: Idioms are packed with rich associations that resonate instantly with viewers, and when applied to titles of the small screen, they quickly communicate the sensibilities of the shows. Take a look at how some of these idiomatic phrases were …

  9. All Of These Words Are Offensive (But Only Sometimes)

    How can a word be insulting sometimes … but not always? One of the many complexities of English is the ability of words to have multiple definitions, which opens the door for some words to be both derogatory and not derogatory, depending on who is using them or when. These words can be confusing, especially to people who are just learning English and all of …

  10. Ghosting, Seething, And Other Trending Words This Week

    From the sentencing of the president’s former attorney to the holiday season, there’s plenty going on to drive word searches on Dictionary.com. Here are some of the biggest search spikes of the week! Synergy Searches for the meaning of synergy spiked 1,561% in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s use of the word in court filings last Friday. Mueller alleged that Michael Cohen, former attorney …

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