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Lookups spiked 500% on May 10, 2021
Cicada was among our top lookups in the middle of May 2021, as trillions of these things began clawing their way out of the ground, making a ruckus and looking for love (or a suitable partner for reproductive purposes).
It’s happening again. The cicadas of Brood X are set to return this spring, 17 years after they burrowed underground.
— David Rothenberg, New York Times, 9 May 2021
We define cicada as “any of a family (Cicadidae) of homopterous insects which have a stout body, wide blunt head, and large transparent wings and the males of which produce a loud buzzing noise usually by stridulation.”
Periodic cicadas, which include the brood that is forthcoming, appear in regular cycles. The larvae burrow into the ground, where they remain for 13 or 17 years, feeding on juices sucked from roots. Then they emerge in large numbers to live aboveground as adults for a single week. This word will spike again in lookups in 2024, when broods of 13-year and 17-year cicadas are both scheduled to emerge.
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.