The royal wedding taught the world a few new words, but it wasn’t the only thing driving our trending searches the week of May 18–25, 2018.
Fascinator, pomp and circumstance, and ginge
The royal wedding didn’t just bring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle together in holy matrimony. It offered up a vocabulary lesson or two! Searches for the fancy hats traditionally worn to royal shindigs—fascinators–climbed 3,330% during the middle of the ceremony, while queries for the meaning of pomp and circumstance saw a more gentle 1,400% climb. The latter term can refer to either a splendid celebration with ceremony and fuss (such as a wedding) or the title of a military march played at ceremonies, such as graduations. Prince Harry himself claims the honors for the third big trend on his wedding day: ginge, which is an informal word for a person with ginger hair. It saw a 651% boost in searches.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) May 19, 2018
Fans of tennis phenom Caroline Wozniacki gave guileless an 881% boost this week, after a profile by ESPN writer Allison Glock noted the 27-year-old “looks more like a guileless teenager than a 2018 Grand Slam titleholder and current No. 2 singles player on the WTA tour.” The suffix -less indicates the word means without guile, but what is guile, anyway? It means “insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity.” It’s a good thing to have less of in this world!
Readers of an opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board regarding the possibility of an FBI informant placed inside the Trump campaign spiked searches for the meaning of casuistic by 474%. “We’ll let readers parse that casuistic distinction, which is part of a campaign by the FBI and Justice Department to justify their refusal to turn over to the House Intelligence Committee documents related to the informant,” the Journal wrote. What were they talking about? Well, casuistic means “oversubtle; intellectually dishonest; sophistical.”
A sinkhole opened up on the White House lawn this week, and searches for the meaning jumped 108%. So, what does it mean? A sinkhole can be a hole formed in soluble rock by the action water. It can also be a place into which foul matter runs.
Sinkhole: A hole formed in soluble rock by the action of water.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) May 22, 2018
If your binge of Dear White People sent you running for Dictionary.com for the meaning of the word hotep, you’re not alone. The word, which can be used to refer to Afrocentrists (both by themselves and by others who use the word derisively), saw a 563% spike in searches this week. Although it’s often used online, hotep appeared in an episode of Justin Simien’s college-set Netflix series, which came back to the streaming service with season two this month, exposing it to a whole new audience.
Quid pro quo
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin helped give searches for quid pro quo a 1,282% boost this week, with his declaration that “we didn’t agree to any quid pro quo” with China, despite President Trump’s recent tweets about Chinese cellphone company XTE. The Latin phrase means “something that is given or taken in return for something else.”
In the world of paleontology, a velociraptor is a small carnivorous dinosaur. But, it wasn’t the scientific community that sent searches for this extinct beast up 139%. The credit goes to a former US ambassador to Panama. John D. Feeley said to the New Yorker, “He’s like a velociraptor. He has to be boss, and if you don’t show him deference he kills you.” Who was he referring to? In this case, President Donald Trump.
Summa cum laude
Searches for summa cum laude, and its sister phrase magna cum laude, tend to trend on Dictionary.com this time of year. After all, it’s graduation season, when parents, families, and friends pay tribute to kids who have kicked some testing tail to come out on the top of the class. But, summa cum laude earned a 475% spike over the norm this week thanks to a cake kerfuffle at Publix. The grocery store censored the word cum on a cake. As dirty as it sounds, the three-letter-word is simply a Latin version of with.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) May 22, 2018
For the second time this spring, the phrase deep state climbed substantially in searches, this time by 590%. The Deep State supposedly controls state policy behind the scenes, while the democratically-elected process and elected officials are merely figureheads. It got attention this week thanks to a President Trump tweet alleging that there is a criminal deep state.
Need more Trending Words in your life? Find out why derecho, BTFO, and oleaginous drew searches last week.