People look up random words in the dictionary 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, event, or celebrity pronouncement. Merriam-Webster.com keeps track of spikes in word lookups, and those spikes reveal what’s happening in the world, how people are talking about it, and what we’re noticing about what they’re saying. For the week of March 13, holidays and politics drove people to the dictionary.
π day was 3/14.
Pander also spiked on 3/14, but we’re not sure why. From the editorial chat board: “Anyone know if pander is spiking for a specific reason, or is it simply from a generalized feeling of disgust with the political options across the spectrum?” If you know, share your insights in the comments.
Also on the 14th, Trump said he doesn’t “condone violence," which made people check on what condone means.
The Ides of March, on 3/15, has become a social media holiday to celebrate all things Latin and all things backstabby. In the words of Mean Girls' Gretchen Weiner, "We should totally just stab Caesar."
All things Irish trended on 3/17, St. Patrick’s Day, including Erin go bragh, blarney, begorra, leprechaun, and lassie.
Fun also trended on the 17th. Surprisingly, not because of all the fun had at St. Patrick’s Day parties, but rather because a Reddit thread asked “What IS a fun fact?”
Also on the 17th, Secretary of State John Kerry said that ISIS is committing genocide against religious minorities in the Middle East.