Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Politics

Bigly? Braggadocious? Trumped-up? Merriam-Webster dictionary kept tabs on Trump and Clinton's word use at the debate

While sites like PolitiFact were busy on Twitter fact checking political statements live during the first presidential debate, Merriam-Webster's dictionary was doing some checking of its own, keeping track of which words people were looking up after Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton used them.

The dictionary publisher's Twitter account revealed which words were spiking in searches, and which ones weren't actually words at all. Here's what people were looking up, and where the dictionary came down:

"braggadocious"

Trump used the word, saying, "I have a great company. I have a tremendous income. And the reason I say that is not in a braggadocious way."

Merriam-Webster's sent this tweet, after people began searching "braggadocious," which does not appear in its dictionary.

"stamina"

Trump used the word, saying Clinton, "doesn't have the look. She doesn't have the stamina. ... To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina."

The dictionary, which defines the word as "staying power; perseverance," said that a large number of searches made "stamina" one of the most searched words of the night.

"bigly"

Trump apparently said to Clinton, "I'm going to cut taxes big league, and you're going to raise taxes big league, end of story," though many people on Twitter are convinced he was actually saying "bigly," not "big league" (and it's not the first time people have heard it).

Merriam-Webster's made it clear what they heard during the debate, but you might be surprised to learn that "bigly" is a word anyway.

"trumped-up"

Clinton used the term "trumped-up" twice during the debate while talking about Trump's economic policy, referring to "trumped-up, trickle down" economics, and saying, "That is not how we grow the economy."

It's a convenient pun on her opponent's name, of course, but it's also a dictionary defined term that spiked last night and means "deliberately done or created to make someone appear to be guilty of a crime," and therefore a bit strange for Clinton to use in this context.

"cyber"

Searches for cyber were up after Trump used the word while speaking on national security. He referred to "cyber warfare," but also used the word as a noun, saying, "So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is -- it is a huge problem. ... The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it's hardly doable. ... We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester, and certainly cyber is one of them."

While cyber is definitely a word meaning "of, relating to, or involving computers," according to Merriam-Webster, the dictionary does not list it as a noun.

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