People look up random words all the time, but sometimes a lot of people look up the same word—usually because of something in the zeitgeist, such as a shared experience or event.
The vernal equinox on 3/20 sent people to the dictionary to look up equinox.
Following the Brussels attack on 3/22, we saw a surge in lookups for surreal. The word also trended after 9/11, the Newtown shootings, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon; it tends to spike whenever there's a tragedy that's hard to wrap one's head around. Other Brussels-related lookups: status quo, nationalism, and complacency.
A London man who tweeted about accosting a Muslim woman on the street was publicly mocked on Twitter, inspiring a hashtag and a surge in lookups for #mealymouthed.
So much for spring: A snowstorm swept through the central United States on 3/23, causing those affected to check the definition of blizzard.
And finally, Ted Cruz called Donald Trump "a sniveling coward."
Fewer bombings next week, please.