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Trending at Merriam-Webster: Week of 3/27

Curious what news sent people to the dictionary this week?


People look up random words all the time, but sometimes a lot of people look up the same word—usually because of something in the zeitgeist, such as a shared experience or event.

stygian

'Stygian' means "of or relating to the river Styx"—or anything that's as dark, dreary, and menacing as one might imagine Hades and the river Styx to be.

This week’s top lookups were (almost) all driven by U.S. politics:

The shooting at the U.S. Capitol on 3/28 led to an increase in lookups for both lockdown and shrapnel.

People are curious about legal terms. The news that Trump’s campaign manager was charged with battery led to a surge in lookups for the word on 3/29.

Americans looked up stygian on 3/31, after a Huffington Post article called Trump a “stygian homunculus.”

Finally, gullible experienced its usual spike on April 1st. It’s in the dictionary—we promise.

What words do you think will trend next week?



Seen and Heard