From Fortnite to Tyler, the Creator, there were plenty of reasons to learn new words this week, July 13–20, 2018. So let’s dive in, shall we?
The Circle Game
It’s a game teenagers play every day, but searches for the circle game rose 1,094% for a decidedly more troubling reason this week. Four officers in the Jasper (Alabama) Police Department were suspended for making hand gestures in a photo that they said was simply part of the game … but some Jasper residents thought they were gesturing a racist white power symbol instead. So, what is the circle game, anyway? Popular with teenagers, it’s an activity where one person makes a “circle” with their fingers and holds it below their waist, convincing a second person to look at it. If the second person looks, they receive a punch to the shoulder.
Imbecilic and imbecile
Former CIA Director John Brennan lambasted President Donald Trump in a tweet July 16, 2018, calling the president’s comments imbecilic. Searches for imbecilic immediately began to climb on Dictionary.com, ending with a 3,929% increase in inquiries. The word means “contemptibly stupid, silly, or inappropriate.” In a likely offshoot from the effects of the Brennan tweet, searches also climbed for imbecile by 659%.
No stranger to the https://t.co/EoMLt7nGp1 trending list, John Brennan has done it again.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) July 16, 2018
Another week, another song dropped by Tyler, the Creator. Tyler rapping over Drake and Lil Baby’s “Yes Indeed” has been dubbed “Bronco” by the artist, and with excitement over the song climbing, so were searches for the meaning of the word. Bronco spiked 1,764%! Drawn from Spanish, bronco means “a range pony or mustang of the western US, especially one that is not broken or is imperfectly broken.”
Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted an apology to a British diver this week after calling him a pedo, but not before the shortened version of pedophile climbed 542% on Dictionary.com. Musk admitted the word, which he used to describe a diver who’d helped in the rescue of kids trapped in a Thai cave earlier this month, was not true and used in anger.
President Trump said he misspoke this week in regards to his comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin, sending searches for double negative soaring by 2,050%. “In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t,’ ” Trump said. “The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative.” A double negative, by definition, is “a syntactic construction in which two negative words are used in the same clause to express a single negation.”
A week ago, Fortnite fans were wildly curious about the meaning of Leviathan. This week it’s vaulted that’s, well, vaulted into the trending words list. The word saw a 152% increase in searches thanks to the video game. Fortnite has a vault, basically the storage for guns, vehicles, and other in-game features that game-makers remove from the live build of the game. When something is vaulted, by definition it is “constructed or covered with a vault, as a building or chamber.” In other words? If your favorite feature of Fortnite has been vaulted, well, it’s gone to the big farm upstate.
Treason and treasonous
Two of the largest jumps of the week came in searches for treason, which were up 2,943%, and treasonous, which climbed a whopping 5,838%. Treason means “a violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or to one’s state.”
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) July 17, 2018