Trend Watch

Trump: 'I Somewhat Do' Feel Vindicated

Lookups for 'vindicate' spiked after the president said he felt the word applied to him—somewhat

Vindicate (“to free from allegation or blame”) spiked in lookups on March 22nd, 2017, after Representative Devin Nunes seemed to reopen the question of whether Donald Trump's claims to have been "wiretapped" by former U.S. President Obama were accurate. The statement came days after the F.B.I. director, James Comey, testified to the House Intelligence Committee that the president was not the target of court-ordered surveillance during the 2016 presidential campaign, and one week after Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president was not using wiretap to refer to actual wiretapping.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he felt "somewhat" vindicated by Republican congressman Devin Nunes' announcement that it was possible that some of Trump's communications had been picked up by government surveillance.
—, 22 March 2017

In modern usage vindicate is most often employed to describe providing justification for something, or in reference to removing blame. However, the word (which comes from the Latin word for “avenger,” vindex) initially had a somewhat different meaning. When vindicate first began being used in English, in the early 16th century, it had the meaning of “avenge.”

Yet after that he was pacefied, and came to hym selfe agayne, and had gathered hys wyttes together, he thought it was moost expedient to vindicate and reuenge hys honour and dignitee so manifestly touched, with the dynt of sworde.
—Edward Hall, The Vnion of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and Yorke, 1548

Trend Watch tracks and reports on the words that people are looking up. You can see all the Trend Watch articles here.

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