From families being separated at the border, to a prominent Republican jumping ship from his party, to Beyonce and Jay-Z dropping new music, take a look at how the news affected searches on Dictionary.com the week of June 15–22, 2018.
Concentration camp, illegal alien, cage, la familia, tender age
Debates over the separation of children from their parents at the US border have dominated headlines and social media, and with that came a spike in searches for a number of terms that were used to discuss the Trump administration’s policy.
Comparisons of the shelters where immigrant children are being placed after removal from their parents to concentration camps boosted searches for the meaning of that term 2,408%. Typically associated with Adolph Hitler and the Holocaust, concentration camp refers to “a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc., especially any of the camps established by the Nazis prior to and during World War II for the confinement and persecution of prisoners.”
The 863% spike in searches for illegal alien this week not only taught searchers that illegal alien means “a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country’s authorization,” but that the term is often considered offensive. According to the Dictionary.com usage note, “Illegal alien, illegal, undocumented, and unauthorized are labels used to describe people unlawfully residing in the United States, whether by clandestine border crossing, visa deadline violation, or other means. But the terms are not interchangeable. Each has a unique origin and connotation.”
Searches for the meaning of cage also climbed this week, up 288% after Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy said children taken from their parents are not being held in cages, instead calling them “walls out of chain-link fences.” A cage is defined both as a “boxlike enclosure having wires, bars, or the like, for confining and displaying birds or animals and “anything that confines or imprisons; prison.”
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) June 19, 2018
La familia means “the family” in Spanish, and searches for the term spiked by 200% this week. Most immigrants currently seeking asylum are from Spanish-speaking countries, and children are being separated from la familia.
Reporting by the Associated Press and a tearful attempt by Rachel Maddow to share news on air that the Trump administration had created tender age camps to house babies and toddlers taken from their parents at the border sent searches for the idiom up 5,443%. The term means “a young age.”
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) June 20, 2018
People went “apesh-t” when Beyonce and husband Jay Z released a new music video for their latest collaboration named, well, “Apesh-t.” But, it was the setting of the video that boosted searches 800% on Dictionary.com. Filmed in Paris at the Louvre, the video sent searchers straight to the definition. The Louvre (note the initial capitalization) has been a national museum in Paris, France, since 1793.
News out of Canada that three parents have made legal history by winning court recognition that all three should be deemed legal parents of their children spurred searches for the meaning of polyamorous to rise 123%. So, what does polyamorous mean? It’s noting or relating to polyamory, “the practice or condition of participating simultaneously in more than one serious romantic or sexual relationship with the knowledge and consent of all partners.”
How you doin’?
Friends may have gone off the air some 14 years ago, but the TV show that gave us “we were on a break” and “pivot!” also gave us the classic Joey Tribbiani line, How you doin’? If you’re scratching your head over that entire sentence, maybe you’re one of the people who sent searches for actor Matt LeBlanc’s signature pickup line up 169%?
This word is no stranger to the trending word list. It first showed up in late May, when Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a feckless c–t. It’s back this week, rising 336% thanks in part to former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt (himself no stranger to our trending list!) calling out Republican party leaders as feckless cowards and CNN contributor Ana Navarro using the term to refer to Ivanka Trump once again.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) June 20, 2018
The death of rapper XXXTentacion at just 20 years old shocked the music industry and fans. Reports that the rapper was originally comatose at the scene of the shooting sent searches up 5,720% for the word, as fans hoped for the best. Sadly the young star, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, did not recover from his injuries.
Two cases before the Supreme Court sent searches flying on Dictionary.com. This time it was gerrymander, up 325%, in light of news that the high court had shot down challenges to boundaries drawn in political districts in both Wisconsin and Maryland. An eponym drawn from the name of Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, gerrymander is defined as “the dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.”
What other words did the Supreme Court justices send to the trending word list, and why was gulag such a hot term recently? Find out in our last edition of Trending Words This Week!