A sequel to a treasured children’s film and a celebration of the nation’s laws both landed on the Dictionary.com trending words list this week. Here’s what else had you wondering about words.
Searches for prevarication climbed 1,209% this week on the heels of its use in a tweet by George Conway, Washington D.C. lawyer and husband of White House staffer Kellyanne Conway. Prevarication refers to “the act of lying.”
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) September 16, 2018
The movie Lost Child arrived in theaters last weekend, unleashing the legend of the tatterdemalion, a child allegedly banished to live in the woods who will make you love him, only to steal your health. Out here in the real world, however, a tatterdemalion is just “a person in tattered clothing; a shabby person.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s speech at a Human Rights Campaign dinner over the weekend helped boost searches for the meaning of dregs by 567%. “There is a small percentage of the American people, some of them pranks, dregs of society, and instead of using the executive branch to secure justice and dignity for all, the president uses the White House as a literal bully pulpit,” Biden said. The dregs are defined as “the least valuable part of anything.”
The announcement that there are four major personality types—average, reserved, self-centered, and role model—sent searches for the meaning of neuroticism up 510% this week. Why?
According to a study published in Nature Human Behavior and performed by researchers from Northwestern University, these four traits are based on how people display what they’ve deemed five different major character traits, including extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and … you see where this is going … neuroticism. The noun refers to “the state of having traits or symptoms characteristic of neurosis.”
Neurosis, by the way, is “a functional disorder in which feelings of anxiety, obsessional thoughts, compulsive acts, and physical complaints without objective evidence of disease, in various degrees and patterns, dominate the personality.”
It’s been 231 years since the United States Constitution was ratified on September 17, 1787. With Constitution Day at hand, searches for the true meaning of America’s framework of laws were up 46%. When it’s spelled with a lowercase C, constitution means “the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state, corporation, or the like, is governed.” Give it an initial cap, however, and you get “the fundamental or organic law of the U.S., framed in 1787 by the Constitutional Convention.”
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The sound of it might be quite atrocious, but supercalifragilisticexpialidocious went up to the highest heights this week as Mary Poppins fans celebrated the release of a new trailer for the upcoming sequel Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Searches for the word—yes, it’s a word!—climbed 113%. So, what does it really mean? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is “a nonsense word used by children to express approval.” It’s actually also one of our most commonly misspelled words; there are tons of people spelling it in different ways on our top misspells.