Incumbent, Misogynistic and Other Trending Words This Week

The midterm elections weren’t just sending folks to the polls. Plenty of you landed on Dictionary.com looking for answers. So what did we learn? Let’s review this week in words!

Incumbent, House of Representatives, and gubernatorial

The midterm elections dominated headlines this week, so it’s no surprise that more than a few election-related words showed up in our trending list too. Incumbent had a 620% spike in searches. When used as a noun—as it was in most election reports—incumbent means “a holder of an office.”

House of Representatives also climbed 535% with news Wednesday that Democrats had gained a majority over Republicans in the lower legislative branch in the United States Congress.

Gubernatorial may not be a word you hear very often, but it was thrown around a lot this week as polling results determined who would be the next governor in 36 states. As searchers who were part of the 895% spike in searches learned, gubernatorial is an adjective that means “of or relating to a state governor or the office of state governor.”

C–n and c-word

A racist slur was spelled out by members of the marching band at a Georgia high school in what the students claimed was a prank. The incident sparked a conversation about racial epithets and a 509% spike in searches for the slur in question: c–n. Although it can be the nickname for a raccoon, the word is considered extremely disparaging and offensive when used to refer to a black person. Also up were searches for “c-word,” which is a euphemism for this slur.

Misogynistic

A deadly shooting at a Tallahassee, Florida yoga studio over the weekend claimed the lives of two women and led police to look into the life of Scott Paul Beierle, the man they say shot several people before turning the gun on himself. Among the pieces of information released by police was news that Beierle had made numerous racist and misogynistic comments in YouTube videos. Searches for misogynistic were up 1,000% in conjunction with the news. The word means reflecting or exhibiting hatred, dislike, mistrust, or mistreatment of women.

Sassenach

Outlander‘s Claire Randall has been called more than a few names, but Sassenach is one that’s gone from nasty term to one of endearment, at least where Jamie Fraser is concerned. Fans wondering if Sassenach is made-for-TV or a real thing helped spark a 188% search surge this week. The verdict? It’s real! Sassenach is a derogatory term used by the Gaelic inhabitants of the British Isles to refer to the English inhabitants.

Recuse

The news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had resigned Wednesday was quickly followed by the announcement that his chief of staff, Matthew Whittaker, would take over as acting attorney general. It was a response from Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, however, that prompted the word recuse to begin trending on Dictionary.com, resulting in a 601% leap. Schumer, who hails from New York, used the verb in calling for Whittaker to withdraw himself from oversight of the Robert Mueller investigation. Recuse, after all, means to withdraw from a position of judging so as to avoid any semblance of partiality or bias.

Check out which rap star made one word climb more than 20,000% in searches last week!

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