Trending: mendacious,’ ‘mendacity

Lookups spiked 3,300% on March 19, 2019

Why are people looking up the words mendacious and mendacity?

Mendacious, along with its shorter cousin mendacity, spiked in lookups on March 19th, 2019, after media reports of George Conway having used each of these uncomplimentary words in reference to Donald Trump.

But George Conway said in an interview Tuesday that he has had a number of notable interactions with Trump over the past decade, often concerning legal representation and sensitive legal matters since Trump became president. He described the president as “mendacious” and “incompetent” and predicted he would not win reelection … “It’s so maddening to watch,” said Conway, a longtime Washington attorney who is well-known in conservative circles. “The mendacity, the incompetence, it’s just maddening to watch. 
— Josh Dawsey & John Wagner, The Washington Post, 19 Mar. 2019

What do the words mendacious and mendacity mean?

Mendacious is defined as “given to or characterized by deception or falsehood or divergence from absolute truth.” We define mendacity as “the quality or state of being mendacious," or also simply as “lie.”

Where do the words mendacious and mendacity come from?

Both words come from Latin mendax (“lying, false”), and have been in English use since the middle of the 16th century.


Therfore saith Othea to the good knyght that her he ought to resemble? for mendacious speche, or to be a lesyng mongre, is moch to be reproued in the mouth of a knyght.
— Christine de Pisan, Here foloweth the C. hystoryes of Troye, 1549

They can not for mere shame and impudencie saie, that you in the publishing of your booke, will make euery priuate person an artiste: specially when as herein thei incurre  mendacitie and falsifiyng the truthe, then the whiche vice nothing can be more detestable and worthy of ignominie.
— Lefranco of Milan, A most excellent and learned woorke of chirurgerie, 1565

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.

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