The word-learning site Vocabulary.com has a list-making tool that can automatically generate vocabulary study lists from speeches or passages in books. It finds the most relevant words in a text by looking at which words are used more frequently than one would expect when compared to the language as a whole. They ran the numbers on last night’s GOP debates, and came up with the most relevant words for each candidate. Click on the word to see the definition, or study the whole list at Vocabulary.com. Here are the results:
1. DEBATE AS A WHOLE // AMNESTY
This word relating to immigration policy was used by Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker, as well as Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry in the preliminary debate.
2. JEB BUSH // VOUCHER
Bush touted his creation of a school voucher program in Florida, using a word you would normally see only once every 4,181 pages of text a total of three times.
3. BEN CARSON // TITHE
Carson’s proposal for a tax system based on the Christian practice of tithing tied him to this rarely used word. And got it trending on Twitter.
4. CHRIS CHRISTIE // ENTITLEMENT
This word, mostly found in discussions of government benefit programs, was used three times by the Governor of New Jersey.
5. TED CRUZ // AMNESTY
Though the word "amnesty" was used by many of the candidates, Cruz used it the most in voicing his opposition to pardoning illegal immigration.
6. MIKE HUCKABEE // BURGEONING
Huckabee employed this relatively rare word with reference to the danger of Iran as a “burgeoning nuclear power.”
7. JOHN KASICH // RECIDIVISM
Recidivism, the tendency of an ex-convict to go back to a previous behavior, was one of the rarest words used in the debate. Kasich used it in reference to the benefit of getting prisoners treatment for drug addiction.
8. MARCO RUBIO // EVISCERATE
In a call to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act, Rubio claimed it was “eviscerating small businesses and small banks.”
9. RAND PAUL // ANIMUS
Paul made sure to say that animus, a feeling of ill-will or animosity, was not behind his proposal to decrease foreign aid to Israel.
10. DONALD TRUMP // DESTABILIZE
Trump bragged that only he had the foresight to know that the war in Iraq “was going to destabilize the Middle East.”
11. SCOTT WALKER // REINSTATE
Walker spoke about reinstating with reference to two things: the sanctions against Iran and the missile defense system in Eastern Europe.
And here were the most relevant candidate words from the preliminary debates and the quotes where they appeared:
12. CARLY FIORINA // RESURGENCE
“We need a leader who will lead the resurgence of this great nation and unlock its potential once again.”
13. JIM GILMORE // LEGISLATING
“The President shouldn't be legislating.”
14. LINDSEY GRAHAM // EMPOWER
“She has empowered a failed agenda.”
15. BOBBY JINDAL // ASSIMILATION
“Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.”
16. GEORGE PATAKI // RADICALIZE
“…go after those who are here who we know who are here, before they can radicalize other Americans to carry out attacks.”
17. RICK PERRY // ENTITLEMENT
“We can reform those entitlements, we can change that corporate tax code and lower it.”
18. RICK SANTORUM // JUGGERNAUT
“It’s a 20 percent flat rate tax, it’ll take a blowtorch to the—to the IRS. It will create a manufacturing juggernaut in this country.”