Twerk And Other Trending Words On

What do Cardi B and Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen Pence have in common? They both helped put words on the most searched list from January 11–18, 2019!


Second Lady Karen Pence made headlines January 15 with an announcement that she accepted a job as an art teacher at a conservative Christian school in Virginia. The vice president’s wife landed on the trending words list thanks to school rules that bar parents and students from—among other things—contumacious—behavior.

Searches for the adjective helped contumacious grab its first-ever appearance on our trending word list. It means “stubbornly perverse or rebellious; willfully and obstinately disobedient.”


You never know just who will make folks interested in a word. This week it was rapper Cardi B and the City Girls, who released a video for their new song “Twerk.”

Yes, twerk is in the dictionary, as folks found out when searches soared. The verb officially means “to dance to hip-hop or pop music in a very sensual way typically by thrusting or shaking the buttocks and hips while in a squatting or bent-over position.”


A federal judge ruled that a Trump administration plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is unlawful, resulting in a 99% spike in searches for the meaning of census.

Derived from Latin, a census is “an official enumeration of the population, with details as to age, sex, occupation, etc.”


Atlantic readers opened up their apps in droves after reading James Parker’s article “When Donald Trump Touched the Magic Orb.”

Parker referred to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt as fatuously composed in this piece, driving searches for the word fatuously. The adverb means “foolishly or inanely, especially in an unconscious, complacent manner.”


The dictionary saw a substantial leap in searches for substantial after National Security Advisor John Bolton announced there’s “substantial evidence” that Iran has been hiding nuclear facility. So, what qualifies as substantial? The term refers to “an ample or considerable amount.”


ABC reporter Jon Karl earned his spot on the trending words list with his report on the impending release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Karl told The Week host George Stephanopoulos that sources say Mueller’s report will be anti-climactic, sending searches soaring.

The word refers to “an event, conclusion, statement, etc., that is far less important, powerful, or striking than expected.”


It’s not a word in the dictionary, but that didn’t stop Bachelorette fans from trying to find meaning behind Nick Viall’s name this week. The reality star has been spilling secrets from his days on the show, and it seems fans will look just about anywhere for information.

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