Kanye West. Mean Girls. Brett Kavanaugh. What do they all have in common? Spots on the trending words list this week, September 29–October 5, 2018! Let’s get to all the learning, shall we?
Rapper Kanye West announced the creation of a new word over the weekend. Just one problem? Unprogrammed has been around for centuries. The word made its first landing on the trending words list as people scurried to check out whether or not West had coined it, only to learn the truth.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) September 30, 2018
Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh continued to dominate headlines this week as well as bring attention to some little used words. Fox News reporter Lukas Mikelionis was responsible for a 300% jump in searches for the word opprobrious, which he used in a scathing indictment of USA Today columnist Erik Brady’s own piece on Kavanaugh’s rights to coach girls basketball.Opprobrious is an adjective that “describes something deemed outrageously disgraceful or shameful.”
Presidential Advisor Kellyanne Conway is no stranger to the trending words list, and she helped boost searches for the word conflate by 330% with her double usage of the verb during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper. Conway was candidly discussing her own traumatic experience with sexual assault and cautioned viewers not to conflate her own assault with allegations made against President Trump or Kavanaugh. Conflate means “to fuse into one entity; merge.”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 30, 2018
Find out which word Kellyanne Conway helped boost two weeks ago.
Captain America, er, Chris Evans had a viral tweet on his hands with a scathing response to Kanye West. He also had a trending word. Myopia, which climbed 179%, is known by many folks who sport spectacles as it is a synonym for nearsightedness. Drawn from a Greek root, myopia is also a noun that refers to “a lack of foresight or discernment; obtuseness; narrow-mindedness; intolerance.”
There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. The level of unapologetic conjecture I’ve encountered lately isn’t just frustrating, it’s retrogressive, unprecedented and absolutely terrifying. https://t.co/4jCFwB4T5U
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) September 30, 2018
WATCH: How To Talk Politics With Your Family Without Arguing
Saturday Night Live‘s cold open was dedicated to the biggest news of the week—the Kavanaugh hearing—with Matt Damon playing the justice nominee. Damon’s mention of the Eiffel Tower seems to have confused at least a few folks. Isn’t that a landmark in Paris? Well, yes, but as the people who helped boost searches 563% learned, it’s also a euphemism for a certain sex act.
When Mean Girls fans heard that October 3rd would arrive on a Wednesday this year, they debated pulling out their pink for just a second before deciding, “you go, Glen Coco.” If all of that sounded like gibberish to you, perhaps you’re one of the people joining the 200% climb in searches for Glen Coco.
Who is this motivational man? The name refers to a minor character in the 2004 film who manages to receive four candy-grams at Christmas time. Apparently, Glen Coco is pretty darn fetch.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza helped apostasy earn its place on this week’s list with a 521% leap in searches. Cillizza, an editor-at-large for CNN, wrote an analysis of Senator Jeff Flake’s interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, noting “Any apostasy — ANY — is punished,” in relation to action by individual members of Flake’s party. The context may help you guess at the meaning of the word, but if not, here it is: Apostasy is “a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.”
News that an FBI report on Kavanaugh was imminent had plenty of Dictionary.com users wondering just how long it would take for the report to appear. Searches for imminent catapulted 93%. So, what does it mean? “Likely to occur at any moment; impending.”
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) October 3, 2018
A flashback to the 1990s was responsible for the modest 65% bump in searches for the word acquitted as we marked the 23rd anniversary of the OJ Simpson verdict. The football player was acquitted of murder charges on October 3 more than two decades ago. Acquitted means “declared not guilty.”
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) October 3, 2018
Oktoberfest is in full swing in Germany, and Americans are putting on their own versions of the traditional beer-drinking celebration. In German, bier means, well, beer! But, Americans who contributed to the 611% boost in searches found a rather sobering definition. Bier in English means “a frame or stand on which a corpse or the coffin containing it is laid before burial.”
A man from Utah has been arrested and accused of sending letters laced with ricin to the Pentagon this week. The unsettling incident helped searches rise 1,259% as folks learned that ricin is “a white, poisonous, protein powder from the bean of the castor-oil plant.”
A call from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for cloture on the Kavanaugh hearing introduced a new word to plenty of Dictionary.com readers, at least by the looks of the 2,095% jump in searches. Cloture refers to “a method of closing a debate and causing an immediate vote to be taken on the question.”
Searches for cloture have 📈 2,095% on https://t.co/OeJELgy3YL.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) October 4, 2018