Lookups spiked 1,200% on January 30, 2019
The "polar vortex" hitting the Midwest made the weather front-page news on January 30, 2019, with commentary surrounding the extreme temperatures addressing everything from how to dress for the cold to the effects of climate change on specific weather events.
Vortex means "something that resembles a whirlpool," and can refer to spinning liquid or air, but can also be used figuratively to refer to frantic or frightening activity, such as "the vortex of battle" or "a vortex of speculation."
Vortex comes from the Latin verb vertere meaning "to turn." The plural of vortex is most often vortices, though vortexes is also sometimes used. But let's hope it doesn't come to that.
Typhon moreover or Vortex, differeth from Turben in flying backe, and as much as a crash from a cracke.
— Pliny the Elder (trans. by Philemon Holland), The historie of the world, 1634
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.