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When:

Lookups spiked on January 23, 2014.

Why:

Various commentators described Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman as a "thug" because of his on-camera rant after his team won the NFC title, which led Sherman to accuse his critics of using thug as a thinly veiled racial slur.

Sherman later added to the debate over the word's meaning by saying, "What's the definition of a thug, really? Is it a guy on a football field just talking to people?"

As Merriam-Webster defines it, thug means "a violent criminal," and is synonymous with gangster and tough. It comes from the Hindi and Urdu word meaning "thief."

Photo: Zennie Abraham / flickr