Civility And Other Trending Words On Dictionary.com

There were plenty of calls for civility this week, but do folks really know what it means? The word was one of the top trending searches on Dictionary.com, but it was far from the only term to spark interest!

Eighty-six

The ouster of Press Secretary Sarah Sanders from the Red Hen, an eatery in Lexington, Virginia boosted searches for the meaning of eighty-six by 6,100%! Restaurant workers were likely already familiar with the term (many have an eighty-six or 86 board listing items they’ve used up), but for others this was the first time they learned eighty-six can refer “to a customer considered undesirable or unwelcome and refused service at a bar or restaurant.” It’s also restaurant slang for “out of stock.”

Civility

Between Sanders being asked to leave the Red Hen, protesters yelling fascist at White House advisor Stephen Miller while he was dining out at a Mexican restaurant, Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen getting heckled at yet another restaurant (hey, these people love to eat out!), and President Trump tweeting claims that the Red Hen is filthy, debate over civility in politics raged. Searches for the word were hot and heavy all week, with a 585% spike early in the week. For those who might have forgotten, civility means “courtesy or politeness.”

Pushback

A call from California Congresswoman Maxine Waters for people to push back on the Trump administration was wrapped up in the debate over civility as well. Although she used the verb form of push, the related noun pushback means opposition or resistance to a plan. 

1488

Alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos was back in the news this week, and his trolling of a Jewish journalist helped searches for the meaning of 1488 surge 893%. The string of numbers refers not to a year but to “a code used online by white supremacists to self-identify.” Yiannopoulos shared on social media that he’d sent $14.88 to journalist Talia Lavin. Lavin’s response? She donated the money to a charity that helps immigrants.

Uphold and upheld

Another week, another Supreme Court ruling that drove folks to Dictionary.com! Last week, people learned the true meaning of gerrymandering. This week it was uphold and upheld that made you all curious, with 2,547% and 2,782% spikes respectively, in response to news that the Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s travel ban, sometimes dubbed a “Muslim ban.” Uphold means “to support or defend, as against opposition or criticism.” Upheld is simply a past tense version.

wwww

With such serious matters in the news, we could all use a little laughter, right? At least that’s what the searches for wwww rising 483% tell us! Although it may just look like someone added an extra w to a website URL, the string of four Ws is actually the Japanese equivalent of the English hahahaha, used to express laughter online and in text message.

Sportsmanship

The NBA Awards meant the much-anticipated Rookie of the Year Award decision was finally announced this week. The winner was Sixers’ star Ben Simmons, who spent much of the season taking jokes from fellow ROTY nominee Donovan Mitchell (aka Spida) of the Utah Jazz over whether or not he really qualified as a rookie. (Tl;dr on Simmons: This was his second season in the NBA but first as a player because of an injury). Mitchell took the loss of the award with pure class, however, jumping up to congratulate the Sixers’ forward. The result? A 647% spike in searches for sportsmanship. For those who don’t remember the term from their peewee playing days, sportsmanship means “sportsmanlike conduct, as fairness, courtesy, being a cheerful loser, etc.”

Disfunctional

Proving once again that President Trump’s spelling is often being studied by regular folks, searches for the word disfunctional climbed 746% this week when the president used the term—where else?—on Twitter. We saw numerous tweets asking us if the word was spelled correctly. In fact, it was! Disfunctional is an accepted alternative spelling of dysfunctional, meaning malfunctioning.

Alligator pear

While you’re mixing up the guacamole for your July 4th party, here’s a little trivia to throw out to your buddies. Did you know an avocado is also called an alligator pear? Plenty of folks found that out this week as National Avocado Month nears its close—searches for alligator pear were up more than 1,000%! Another name for everyone’s favorite toast topping? Fertility fruit!

Want more words? Find out why gulag and ad hominem had people searching earlier this month!

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