Election 2016

'Bigot,' 'Xenophobe,' 'Racism,' 'Misogyny' Top List of Merriam-Webster Dictionary's Most Popular Searches

Solving problems begins with defining them, but this is pretty literal.

Photo Credit: Olga Kuevda / Shutterstock.com

On the Sunday following Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election, Merriam-Webster reported on Twitter that the most popular search terms on the famous dictionary's site were for "fascism," "bigot," "xenophobe," "racism," "socialism," "resurgence," "xenophobia," and "misogyny," in that order.

Is it a coincidence that these are some of the hottest buzzwords of the election about a candidate who displays these despicable qualities? Probably not, as a Monday Boston Globe article explored.

Trump has been called many of these words or variants of them throughout his campaign (xenophobic, racist, bigoted, fascist, misogynist). It's never a bad thing to expand one's vocabulary, but it's disheartening that some have to brush up on definitions of these words now—after the cementing of Donald Trump into public office.

Who are we to judge? Maybe there are some inspiring essays about how the future will be redeemed by a rise in feminism, tolerance, and equality currently in the works by grade school and college students who just want to make sure they nail that oft-used opening of "Merriam-Webster defines X  as..." (and good for them to go to M-W rather than Wikipedia!).

That tone of curbed disappointment is shared by Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large of Merriam-Webster, who offered insight earlier in the election season into how many people look up words used in the U.S. 2016 presidential election, from "braggadocious" to the grammar of "deplorables" when used as a noun, to "big league" (not "bigly") to "demagogue" to "democracy." But as he said in a statement, reported the Boston Globe, “Honestly, all these words have been very high on our lookup list for several weeks, and indeed are present in the top 20 or so today.”

Merriam-Webster, which is known for its irreverent, hilarious Twitter account in addition to being the leading American English dictionary in print and online, had a tweet on how depressingly old this news is:

For the record, here are the top lookups as of Sunday, November 13:

As a day-after-election blog post on a spike of lookups of the term by Merriam-Webster reminds us, "Misogyny means 'a hatred of women.'"

Donald Trump was repeatedly accused of sexual assault and misogyny (for his Access Hollywood taped quote bragging about grabbing women by their genitals, among other things) prior to the election, but 42 percent of female American voters, somehow, still cast their ballots for him.

Knowledge is power, right? But hindsight is 20/20 and has a nasty sting.

Jenny Pierson is a managing editor and assistant publisher at AlterNet.

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018