Yeet, Payola, And Other Trending Words This Week

Trending Words

Rapper feuds. Football celebrations. There’s a lot going on in this week’s trending words list.

Payola

A feud between rappers Nicki Minaj and Cardi B ballooned to new heights this week, with Cardi allegedly throwing a shoe at Nicki and the Starships singer accusing the I Like It rapper of earning her success thanks to payola. So what’s payola? Clearly that was the question on plenty of minds, with searches for the word vaulting it onto the trending word list for the first time. The word refers to a secret or private payment in return for the promotion of a product, service, etc., through the abuse of one’s position, influence, or facilities.

Walk a tightrope

New York Jets fans will likely be replaying Andre Roberts’ 78-yard punt return during this week’s sMonday Night Football win over the Detroit Lions for years to come, thanks in no small part to his tightrope walk into the end zone. Roberts maneuvered the left sideline like an experienced tightrope walker with just minutes to go in the third, and helped walk a tightrope climb 8,250% on dictionary.com. The phrase means to “take or be on a very precarious course,” as Roberts did, trying to stay within the gridiron on his way to the end zone.

Misogynoir and umpire

A conflict with a chair umpire during the finals of the US Open made Serena Williams the top topic at just about every water cooler in the country this week. Her eventual loss to Naomi Osaka and $17,000 in fines were hard enough for Williams to swallow, but the aftermath of the match has also resulted in heightened criticism for the tennis phenom, including an Australian political cartoon that’s been called out as racist and sexist for its disturbing depiction of Williams. The criticisms also drew attention to a word added several years ago to dictionary.com: misogynoir, which means the specific hatred, dislike, distrust and prejudice directed toward black women. The term made its first-ever appearance on the trending word list, while umpire also made its first appearance on the list. The word refers to the person selected to rule on plays of the game.

Suss

An anonymous New York Times op-ed allegedly written by a West Wing staffer has catapulted yet another word to a spot on the dictionary.com trending list. Last week it was “lodestar” and “amorality.” This week, suss climbed 341% after White House advisor Kellyanne Conway told CNN, “I believe the person will suss himself or herself out though because that’s usually what happens.” Many folks on the web questioned Conway’s usage of the term, which means “to investigate or figure out.” 

Yeet

A win for the University of Georgia Bulldogs over the South Carolina’s Gamecocks resulted in a whopping 10,223% spike in searches for the word yeet on Saturday. Named for a viral 2014 dance involving moving your shoulders and slightly bent legs together with arms outstretched, yeet has become an expression of excitement. That’s exactly how it was used by Dawgs Coach Kirby Smart and his players as they celebrated their victory.

Tropical depression and hurricane

While Olivia weakened to a tropical depression in Hawaii, Florence turned into a hurricane in the Atlantic, and searches for the types of storms were on the rise on dictionary.com. Tropical depression climbed 250%, while hurricane searches were up 171%. The former is the name for an atmospheric low-pressure system originating in the tropics, specifically, a tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained wind speed is 38 miles per hour (62 kilometers per hour) or less. A hurricane, on the other hand, is the term used to describe a violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the western North Atlantic, having wind speeds of or in excess of 72 miles per hour (32 m/sec).

Swagger

News that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had declared a new Department of Swagger—at least on his Instagram account—sent searches for swagger climbing 183%. The word means to walk or strut with a defiant or insolent air.

Hijack and terrorism

The nation marked 17 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 claimed thousands of lives and changed America for good. This year marked the first time that the majority of school children in American were not yet born when the terrorist attack happened, and many schools devoted lessons to covering what to kids is a historical event. Searches for the meaning of hijack climbed 668% on the 11th, while searches for the meaning of terrorism were up 262%.

 

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