Dictionary.com: What are we looking up?

I long-ago ditched the bulky paper versions of my dictionary and thesaurus in favor of the easier to use (and lighter) dictionary.com. Years of English and Writing classes have forced the habit of underlining unfamiliar words I come across and looking them up later. During a recent trip to the site I wondered; Do other people know what this word means? What is everyone else looking up?

  • My junior high English teacher would be horrified to see this list — with terms like alliteration and metaphor ranking high on the list, it looks like many people weren’t paying attention in class. The 25-34 demographic seems to be in most need of a refresher course, with nearly 29% of dictionary.com visitors falling in that group.
  • I’m guessing that a lot of Valentine’s Day cards included the message, "The dictionary defines love as"¦" with the term jumping up to number eight in February. But that isn’t as high as it was in December — were people checking to see if it was the real thing before making their holiday present purchases?
  • More than anything else, users are clicking on the Search button without entering a term, which brings up results for the definition of "search."

The list of most looked-up words can show us trends deeper than what the latest vocabulary refresher was though – the most popular term in October and November was "socialism."