Trend Watch

CNN Has Connected Comey and 'Humdinger'

When you think of political hearings, what's the first word that comes to mind?


Humdinger, a veritable sockdologer, nay, a lollapalooza, a jim-dandy of a word, spiked mightily in lookups on June 6th, 2017, after CNN used it in a headline.

Comey hearing is shaping up to be a humdinger
CNN (cnn.com), 6 Jun. 2017

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Photo: FBI

James Comey, pre-humdinger headline

Humdinger, which is defined as “a striking or extraordinary person or thing,” appears to have come into our language at the end of the 19th century. The etymology is uncertain, but it is thought to have originated with the older word hummer.

The one particular bright and scintillating feature of the game was Mr. William Kreig’s home run in the eighth inning. In common parlance it was what is known as a humdinger with the accent on the ding.
The Rockford Republic, (Rockford, IL), 15 Jul. 1896

I can fix you up with a good pocket ticker for from $4.50 up. For $25 I’ll put you up a humdinger. I’ll give you one of those hired girl alarm clocks for $1, or one of those elegant mantel timepieces, in bronze and silver, for $30.
The Rockford Republic, (Rockford, IL), 15 Dec. 1896

A nice one, only….$5.00
A natty one, only….8.00
A nobby one, only….10.00
A beauty, only….12.00
A humdinger, only….15.00
— (advt.) Daily Register-Gazette, (Rockford, IL), 7 Apr. 1896



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