Trending: β€˜kangaroo court’

Lookups spiked 11,000% on October 8, 2019

Why are people looking up kangaroo court?

Kangaroo court was among our top lookups on October 8th, 2019, after President Trump alleged that the Democratic representative holding impeachment hearings deserved this descriptor. A number of congressional Republicans subsequently also employed the term in tweets and statements to the press.

Trump gave his version of why the envoy was blocked, tweeting that β€œI would love to send Ambassador Sondland” to testify, β€œbut unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court.”
β€” Eric Tucker, Associated Press (, 8 Oct. 2019

What does kangaroo court mean?

We define kangaroo court as either "a mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted" or "a court characterized by irresponsible, unauthorized, or irregular status or procedures." The origins of the word are obscure, but we can tell you that it does not have much to do with actual kangaroos. We may also assert that there is no connection, in either a semantic or etymological vein, between kangaroo court and the 20th century children's television show Captain Kangaroo. Our earliest record of use comes in 1841.


The Concordia Intelligencer says "several loafers were lynched in Natchez last week upon various charges instituted by the Kangaroo court."
β€” The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), 24 Aug. 1841

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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