Lookups spiked 2,200% on October 17, 2019
Emolument, that old crowd favorite, was among our top lookups on October 17, 2019, after the White House announced that next year’s meeting of the Group of 7 would take place at a property owned by President Trump.
The idea immediately generated controversy. Trump is already fighting three lawsuits suggesting that he is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits U.S. officeholders from personally profiting from payments by foreign governments.
— Eli Stokols and Noah Bierman, The Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2019
Emolument, which comes from the Latin emolumentum (meaning “advantage”), has been in use in English since the 15th century. We define it as “the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites.”
There are two distinct emolument clauses in the the U. S. Constitution; foreign and domestic. The foreign one comes in Article 1, Section 9, and prohibits federal officeholders from accepting emoluments, titles, and presents from foreign states, or from their rulers or representatives. The domestic clause comes in Article 2, Section 1 (“The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them”).
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.