How Merriam-Webster won the debate

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October 1, 2020
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Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash

The first presidential debate took place this week, and it wasn’t just the presidential candidates looking to participate. Merriam-Webster decided to join in on the event by tweeting a list of “pre-debate lookup rankings” featuring words that they expected to trend on its site from viewers turning to the dictionary for clarity.

This list included:

  • Racism
  • Fascism
  • Socialism
  • Pander
  • Trumpery
  • Gaffe
  • Democracy
  • Comity
  • Debate

Throughout the debate, Merriam-Webster live tweeted the popular searches on its Twitter account with the definition or a link back to its entry on the site with a reference to why it was trending.

During the debate, the search for the word “moderator” spiked 3,500 percent. Keeping with the theme, other trending words included “petulant” and “poll watcher,” but it was “logorrhea” that took the lead with a 56,000 percent spike after Rachel Maddow used the word to describe the debate.

With one of the most popular tweets from the night bringing in more than 100,000 likes and 70,000 retweets, I’d say it was a good call for Merriam-Webster’s brand to join in on an event that the world would be talking about, and help us all brush up on our political terminology.

Autumn Jarrett
Autumn Jarrett
Originally from Illinois, Autumn currently resides in Tempe. In her spare time, you will find her taking weekend trips with her friends, shopping or binge watching her favorite shows. Check out Autumn's complete bio here.

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