Sever And Other Trending Words This Week

1. What caused the biggest jump in searches on dictionary.com this week? The word rehabilitation had a whole lot of people scratching their heads.

The term took a 607% leap in searches over the prior week. The spike followed news out of Connecticut that a former University of Hartford student named Brianna Brochu had been sentenced by a judge to “accelerated rehabilitation.” In Brochu’s case, rehabilitation refers to a special kind of probation that will allow her to avoid a criminal record after harassing her roommate, smearing the woman’s backpack with bodily fluids.

2. If former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s Twitter feed sent you scurrying to dictionary.com this week, you’re not alone. Spicer served up a typo in his thanks to outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and it resulted in a 117% spike in searches for sever. We think Mr. Spicer meant to thank Mr. Tillerson for how he served our country.

3. March continues to act like a lion in several areas of the country, so it’s no surprise that searches for synoptic were up 250% this week. The term is usually used to refer to a synopsis or condensed statement on a subject, but it’s also a meteorological term.

With the northeast getting hammered by nor’easters, synoptic could be used to refer to “the distribution of meteorological conditions over a wide area at a given time.”

4. When searches for dread climb 157%, one thing is certain: There’s bad news on the horizon. After all, the word means “to fear greatly.” Why did we see this flurry of fear?

Were United States Department staffers to blame or were school administrators trying to tell us how they were feeling about answering parents after the National School Walkout on Wednesday? We’re feeling mighty apprehensive about the answer.

5. Searches for the term embryo were up 147% this week after families who depended on two separate clinics to freeze their eggs and embryos got devastating news. The Associated Press reported that clinics in Ohio and California had equipment failures on the same day.

Embryo can mean “the beginning or rudimentary stage of anything,” but most of us learned its other definition in science class: “the young of a viviparous animal, especially of a mammal, in the early stages of development.”

6. Meaning “dubious; shady; disreputable,” louche spiked in searches by 94%. Louche isn’t exactly a word you want to hear someone use to describe you, so why are people hurrying to find it in a dictionary? 

Look no further than the debate over Stormy Daniels and President Donald Trump. New York Times writer Maureen Dowd used the word in her article, “The First Porn President,” to describe “a White House awash in salacious stories and louche characters.”

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.