Trending: ‘DEFCON’

Lookups spiked 37,000% on May 8, 2019

Why are people looking up DEFCON?

DEFCON moved to the number one spot in our lookups on May 8, 2019, after CNN coverage of the standoff between the House Judiciary Committee and President Trump began with the headline:

Trump-Congress confrontation goes to Defcon 1

The Judiciary Committee's request for the unredacted Mueller report met with President Trump citing executive privilege to withhold it. The Judiciary Committee Chairman, Congressman Jerry Nadler, was quoted as saying that "The phrase constitutional crisis has been overused, but certainly it's a constitutional crisis."

What does DEFCON mean?

DEFCON is defined as:

any one of five levels of U.S. military defense readiness that are ranked from 5 to 1 according to the perceived threat to national security, with 1 indicating the highest level of perceived threat

Where does DEFCON come from?

Defcon is a compression of the words "defense condition"; it was coined by the U.S. military and its use goes back to the height of the Cold War in 1959.

What is notable about this use of DEFCON?

Figurative use of DEFCON 1 is not unprecedented.

James Mattis resigns; America on DEFCON 1
—Economist.Com, 21 December 2018

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.

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!