Trend Watch


When Paul Ryan became the vice presidential candidate ...


Lookups spiked on August 11, 2012.


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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