The internet changed many things, including the way we talk and the words we use. And each year entirely new words enter the mainstream, trickling down from pop culture, social media, memes and hashtags. So naturally when Merriam-Webster and Oxford update their dictionaries every year, there’s a great interest in the new words that made the cut.
Thankfully for us wordies, Google tracks which new entrants (such as wordie) are getting the most interest around the world, and how the interest in them peaks and falls. Today, it released a list of words that users from around the world most searched for over the past week – one in which Merriam-Webster updated its dictionary for the year, while new phrases were entered into the zeitgeist by celebrities at the Oscars.
Right on top of the list are three terms that Merriam-Webster added to the dictionary recently – ‘Dumpster fire’, ’embiggen’, and ‘mansplain’. While the first one is originally an internet-slang that means “an utterly calamitous or mismanaged situation or occurrence” according to Merriam-Webster, the second one was first used on the cult animated series, The Simpsons, and means “to get bigger”, much the same way words like ’embolden’ or ’empower’ work. As for mansplain, MW defines it as “explaining something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic”. The timeliness of the interest in this word around International Women’s Day is not lost on us.
Google says that incoming searches for the three terms increased by 3200 percent, 2000 percent and 500 percent respectively during the week. But it’s not just words Google is tracking, since people are always searching for phrases and facts.
During the past week, when Google announced a lot of new initiatives to highlight the achievement of women from various walks of life, the company says that searches for actresses Frances McDormand, Jennifer Lawrence and Tiffany Haddish saw a significant spike, with the Oscars and the ensuing stolen statue controversy most likely being a major catalyst for that. Meanwhile, the top searches for ‘gender equality’ came from Nicaragua, Mexico and Sweden.
Frances McDormand’s acceptance speech at the Oscars also became a big talking point, with the term ‘inclusion rider’ becoming a breakout search term following the ceremony.
On a less serious note, Google also announced that ‘Neapolitan’ continued to remain the most searched-for M&M flavor this week, even though M&M in bringing new flavors to the mix, with Crunchy Espresso, Crunchy Raspberry, and Crunchy Mint.
Last, but definitely not the least, interest in the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro also soared 4,600 percent following reports that bones found on the island almost eight decades ago are ‘likely’ those of pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart.