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‘Xenophobe’ and ‘racism’ among top searches on Merriam-Webster dictionary website

President-elect Donald Trump spoke during Election Night last week.Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The same day that President-elect Donald J. Trump appeared in his first major interview since winning the election, and began making moves to shape his administration, many took to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary to brush up on some thorny vocabulary words.

According to the Springfield-based company, the words “fascism,” “bigot,” “xenophobe,” “racism,” “socialism,” “resurgence,” “xenophobia,” and “misogyny” — in that order — were the most popular searches on its website at one point Sunday.

The company posted the list of searched terms to Twitter around 5:40 p.m. The words represented the up-to-the-minute data results. The tweet was shared more than 8,000 times.


“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,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, in a statement.

Sokolowski said a word may spike because it’s “unusual” to some readers, hard to spell, or new to English.

Definitions on Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary are based on the print version of the company’s Collegiate Dictionary.

The word “misogyny” has been highly ranked since Trump, a Republican, was elected president in a stunning surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump was declared the winner early Wednesday.

In a blog post on Merriam-Webster’s website posted Thursday, the company said searches for “misogyny,” which is the hatred of women, had spiked significantly.

The word, the company said, appeared in an array of news articles around that time, and was used widely on Twitter and Facebook.

“Misogyny was among the top lookups” on Wednesday, according to the blog post. “The word spiked still higher” the next day.

Trump’s campaign was dogged by accusations of sexual assault, and during the final presidential debate, the Republican called Clinton a “nasty woman.”

The company’s blog post about the word included a picture of Tic Tacs, an apparent reference to comments made by Trump in 2005, when he was caught on a hot mic bragging to former “Today” co-host Billy Bush that he would grab women by their private parts.


As of Monday morning, the term “misogyny” held the top spot for trending searches on the website, just ahead of “bellwether,” “cast,” and “acrimonious.”

The top 5 words searched on the website in the last 24 hours included “factitious,” “xenophobe,” “fascism,” “bigot,” and “communication.”

“We find it gratifying that the public turns to the dictionary during major news stories; our data gives an objective view of the events of the day through the prism of vocabulary,” said Sokolowski. “These results tell us as much about the peculiarities of the English language as about the news of the day.”

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.