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Lookups on Merriam-Webster.com spiked on October 1, 2010.
During a radio interview the day before, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez called comedian Jon Stewart "a bigot," and suggested that "everybody who runs CNN" is Jewish.
Sanchez was subsequently fired by CNN, which sparked much discussion about the media, race, and comedy. Stewart himself later said that he's "not sure even Rick Sanchez believed what he was saying."
The word bigot comes directly from Norman French, where it meant "hypocrite," and might have originated from the Old English words "by God."