Linalool, Floccinaucinihilipilification, And More Trending Words This Week

From the college gridiron to the chemistry lab to a politician in India, this week’s trending word list has a world’s worth of information in it. So pack your bags, and get ready to hit the road with us.

Linalool

LaCroix may be the reason you can’t get enough of bubbly water these days, but the brand is facing a lawsuit that claims the seltzer has artificial ingredients (despite advertising claims). One of the ingredients at the heart of the allegations is linalool, a word that saw a 1,610% rise in searches on Dictionary.com. The lawsuit claims linalool is also used in cockroach insecticide. What does the definition say? Linalool is “a colorless, unsaturated terpene liquid alcohol that’s used in perfumery.”

Indigenous

Some folks in America celebrated Monday as Columbus Day. Others celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day. So what is this adjective, and why were people searching? Indigenous refers to “originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native.”

Melee

Big action at an MMA is expected, but how about big words? Searches for the meaning of melee saw a 201% upsurge after UFC fighter Zubaira Tukhugov attacked Conor McGregor in the Octagon on Saturday. If you’re wondering why that’s unusual—it is an MMA fight after all—it turns out a Tukhugov/McGregor fight wasn’t on the card! McGregor had just lost a fight to Khabib Nurmagomedov when Tukhugov kicked off a multi-man post-fight melee. The noun means “a confused hand-to-hand fight or struggle among several people.”

Chink and chink in one’s armor

Baseball announcer Ron Darling was accused of using a racial slur this week after referring to pitcher Masahiro Tanaka as a “chink in the armor” for the Yankees. The pitcher, who is Japanese, had been struggling with control issues during the Yankees’ division series game. Darling has apologized for using the term, which he says was not intended to be racist. Searches for chink, meanwhile, climbed 1,819%, and chink in one’s armor made its appearance on the trending words list with a 1,910% boost.

The latter phrase dates back to the 1400s and is not known to having racist connotations. It means “a vulnerable area.” When used on its own, chink can also be an innocent term that describes “a crack or gap.” However, it’s an offensive term when used to describe someone from any of the Asian countries or someone with Asian ancestry.


WATCH: We Asked: The Hardest Words You Have To Explain To Kids


Nepotism

The impending departure of Nikki Haley from the Trump administration has left an opening for an ambassador to the United Nations, and President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his daughter Ivanka would make a great pick. “But, you know, I’d then be accused of nepotism, if you can believe it,” he added. Searches for nepotism quickly climbed 382%. The noun means “patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics.”

Magnanimity

Astronaut Scott Kelly—brother-in-law of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and twin brother of fellow astronaut Mark Kelly—landed himself on the trending words list with someone else’s words this week. Kelly tweeted the Winston Churchill quote, “in victory, magnanimity,” sending searches for the meaning of magnanimity rocketing up 164%. The word describes “the quality of being generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness.”

Connoisseur

Basketball star LeBron James courted a bit of controversy this week with his admission that his 14- and 11-year-old kids are known to sample some of his favorite drink: Wine. But, it was the news media’s descriptor of James as a wine connoisseur that sent searches for the term flying as high as LeBron’s dunks. Searches for the French loanword were up 157%, as folks learned it means that LeBron is “a discerning judge of the best when it comes to wine.”

Get a load of these other loanwords from languages around the world! 

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Indian politician Shashi Tharoor mystified a massive amount of people with an announcement that his new book is “more than just a 400-page exercise in floccinaucinihilipilification,” driving searches up 2,607%. One of the longest words in the English language, floccinaucinihilipilification means “the estimation of something as valueless.”

Paradigm shift

The United Nations issued a grim warning about climate change this week, warning that current levels of greenhouse gas emissions are unsustainable and the warming of the Earth puts people, animals, and more across the globe in real danger. Headlines warning that a paradigm shift would be necessary to ward off global catastrophe prompted searches for the phrase to climb 1,040%. A paradigm shift is “a significant change in the paradigm of any discipline or group.”

Sooner

The word sooner can refer to a time period, but a 1,645% spike in searches for Sooner on a Saturday in the fall can mean only one thing: Folks have college football on their minds! A Sooner is “a native or inhabitant of Oklahoma (the Sooner State).” It’s also “a nickname for the students and athletes at the University of Oklahoma.”

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.