Searches on Merriam-Webster for the word “anti-Semitism” spiked this week after President Donald Trump was asked during his Thursday press conference about an “uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it.”
In response to the query from an Ami Magazine reporter about a rise in bomb threats to Jewish community centers, Trump said, “Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican … But let me just tell you something, that I hate the charge, I find it repulsive. I hate even the question because people that know me and you heard the [Israel] prime minister, you heard Ben Netanyahu yesterday, did you hear him, Bibi? He said, I’ve known Donald Trump for a long time and then he said, forget it.” (The reporter, Jake Turx, did not accuse Trump of being anti-Semitic; Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are Jewish.)
As defined by the dictionary, anti-Semitism is “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.”
This isn’t the first time the President of the United States or a member of his staff has caused a word to trend in Merriam-Websters lookups. After Trump’s inauguration last month, the word “carnage” — which Trump mentioned in his speech — trended on the website.