Between her success on the big screen, her chart-topping songs, and her success as a model, record producer and more, there’s not much Janelle Monae can’t do. Her latest accomplishment? Monae scored the top spot in the Dictionary.com Trending Words list with a 6087% jump in searches!
In an interview with Rolling Stone this week, Monae told the magazine that she initially identified as bisexual, but “then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.” Sometimes referred to as “omnisexual,” pansexual means “expressing or involving sexuality in all its forms, or sexual activity with people of any sexual orientation or gender identity.”
How does that differ from bisexuality? According to our lexicographers, “Pansexual is beyond the gender binary, so being attracted to people who do not identify as male or female in addition to those who identity as male or female. Bisexual doesn’t include nonbinary people necessarily.”
That said, gender and sexuality labels are just that—labels—and may fall short of the way an individual identifies. Some people who identify as bisexual do include nonbinary folks, while some do not. Curious about other ways language has changed in response to people’s growing consciousness of identity? Check out our starter LGBT language guide.
Searches for "pansexual" have jumped on https://t.co/EoMLt7nGp1.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 26, 2018
A controversial tweet from President Donald Trump is once again responsible for driving searches on Dictionary.com. While the pundits debated whether or not North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has truly agreed to denuclearize, plenty of folks just wanted confirmation over what the word means. With a 1222% jump in search traffic, denuclearize took the number two spot in our Trending Words list. A verb, it means to to remove nuclear weapons from (a country, region, etc.).
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 23, 2018
Sword of Damocles
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders often makes words trend on Dictionary.com, but this week it was a reporter asking Sanders a question who sent folks scurrying for our search button. John Gizzi, a White House correspondent for Newsmax, asked Sanders about a recent comment from French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in which the minister noted that “We cannot live with the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.” If you don’t know what a sword of Damocles is, welcome to the club! Searches for sword of Damocles were up 151%. The term means “any situation threatening imminent harm or disaster.”
It wasn’t the president but his attorney Michael Cohen who drove searches for the term Fifth Amendment up by 444% this week. News that Cohen would “plead the fifth” in court regarding the Stormy Daniels case prompted a flurry of look-ups for the constitutional amendment. Don’t remember what your social studies teacher taught you? That’s OK, we’ve got it right here! The Fifth Amendment is the one that declares “no person be required to testify against himself or herself in a criminal case and that no person be subjected to a second trial for an offense for which he or she has been duly tried previously.”
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 25, 2018
That’s what she said
Some day we imagine we’ll stop making “that’s what she said” jokes, but this week wasn’t the time. Popularized by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live, the wink, wink, nudge, nudge saying got boosted back into popularity with the US remake of The Office, and it’s still bouncing around the internet today. In fact, searches for the meaning shot up 400% this week! Shot up … that’s what she said.
Reporter Amy Chozick’s new book, Chasing Hillary, has created a firestorm this week, including accusations from former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton that the author didn’t fact check some statements about her. But it was a quote from Chozick that referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as letting loose a “f–k-laced fusillade,” that sent searches soaring on Dictionary.com. The hunt for the meaning of fusillade jumped 219%. The word means “a general discharge or outpouring of anything.”
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When ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl asked President Trump if he planned to pardon lawyer Michael Cohen, the commander in chief called it a “stupid question.” But here at the Dictionary, we don’t believe in stupid questions. So, when people sent searches for unpardonable climbing 210%, we supplied the answer! And, the news that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is making moves to ensure that a federal pardon wouldn’t prevent the state’s attorney from bringing state charges didn’t hurt searches for the word either.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 23, 2018