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'Lordy,' 'Contemporaneous' spike on Merriam-Webster during Comey hearing

Of course the dictionary live-tweeted the testimony too

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The Merriam-Webster Twitter account has become immersed in the political conversation over the last year, and that trend continued during Thursday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing with former F.B.I. director James Comey.

The chirpy account pointed users to some trending definitions, such as the word “lordy,” which spiked after Comey said, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes” in response to a question about President Donald Trump’s claims he had audio recordings of conversations with Comey. (In case you’re wondering, the word is used to “express surprise or strength of feeling.”)

Merriam-Webster also noted in a tweet that “probative, fuzz, Lordy, recuse, dais, and contemporaneous” were all trending in its online word lookups. (This followed a joke where it tweeted that they were a little “fuzzy” about the former director’s use of the word “fuzz.”)

Editor Kory Stamper observed that lookups for “defame” and “misprision” (when someone neglects their official duty) had also spiked.

Finally, the Merriam-Webster account wrapped its live-tweet storm, writing, “That’s all for now,” accompanied with the meaning of “Closed Session.”

“We’ve had the ability to track lookups in real-time for a long time, and they’ve always sparked conversation among us in the office. When we started sharing them with the public on Twitter, we found that other people thought they were interesting, too,” Stamper told EW about Merriam-Webster’s live-tweeting late last year. “Seeing what sorts of words people look up during a news event or a debate provides a jumping-off point for conversations about the nature and importance of language.”

See all of Merriam-Webster’s tweets below.