Trend Watch

Wonk

When Paul Ryan became the vice presidential candidate ...


When:

Lookups spiked on August 11, 2012.

wonk

Why:

Paul Ryan's reputation for getting deep into the details of budget policy led many news outlets to label the vice presidential candidate as a "policy wonk," "budget wonk," "Washington wonk," and "fiscal wonk."

Wonk means "a person preoccupied with arcane details or procedures in a specialized field."

When the word first emerged in the 1950s, it had less to do with specialized details and more to do with social awkwardness - i.e. its meaning was similar to nerd. Today, however, wonk typically refers to an expert on politics.

Photo credit: James Currie / flickr



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