Trend Watch


A vocabulary quiz sent people to the dictionary

Avulse and avulsion both spiked in lookups on July 12th, following the appearance of the former in a Facebook quiz on vocabulary. Avulsion (”a forcible separation or detachment, such as a tearing away of a body part accidentally or surgically”) is most often encountered used in a medical setting (although it may also refer to the cutting off of a section of land); the word was thrust into the public consciousness last year, when comedian Jimmy Fallon accidentally avulsed his finger.

Apparently, Fallon tripped on a rug, caught his wedding ring on a countertop, and suffered something called "ring avulsion," which joins "Why does my eye itch?" and "public swimming pools" on the list of things you should never Google."
—Rebecca Fishbein,, 14 Jul., 2015

And for those readers who did turn to Google to search for images of what avulsion looks like, the next logical question, of course, is “is avulsion related to revulsion?” To which we are happy to report yes, it is. Both words can be traced in part back to the Latin word vellere, which means “to pull, pluck.”

Trend Watch tracks popular lookups to see what people are talking about. You can always see all Trend Watch articles here.

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