Culture, Merriam Webster, Trump, Twitter, Web Culture

Merriam-Webster searches for ‘slimeball’ up 60,000% after Trump’s tweet about Comey


After President Trump’s tweet describing former FBI director James Comey as a “slimeball,” Merriam-Webster dictionary says searches for the word are up by 60,000 percent.

The president called Comey a “proven LEAKER & LIAR” in a series of tweets improperly strung together on Friday morning. 

“He lied to Congress under OATH,” Trump tweeted. “He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI.”

Comey’s tell-all memoir won’t be on shelves until next week, but in excerpts published online, the former FBI director described Trump as “sitting on a throne” and compared him to a mob boss

And as his tweets show, Trump didn’t take it well. 

According to a post from Merriam-Webster, searches for “slimeball” were up 60,000 percent since the president’s disparaging remarks about Comey. 

“We define it as ‘a morally repulsive or odious person,” the dictionary tweeted.

Merriam-Webster’s report points out that although both “slime” and “ball” have been part of the English language for thousands of years, the two words didn’t become a combined phrase until 1972 when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette used “slimeball” in reference to pushing someone down a fire escape. 

“Although Trump rendered the word as an open compound (slime ball) in his tweet,” the report cheekily stated, “the traditional form is as a closed compound (slimeball).”

Since Trump’s win during the 2016 presidential election, Merriam-Webster has has become somewhat of a a social media fact checker. With actions like highlighting “feminism” as its 2017 word of the year and subtweeting the president, the dictionary has been quietly protesting the Trump administration. 

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