A word cloud of Donald Trump’s inaugural address would likely feature phrases like “the people” and “unite.”
The subtext of his speech is another story. Trump’s promise to put “America first,” for example, is a fraught one. Historically, the phrase has been used by Nazi sympathizers. And his avowal to protect the interests of the police is brimming with racist undercurrents.
While the address ostensibly rings of promise and change, the words that were most searched on dictionary sites are alarmingly opposite in tone.
According to Dictionary.com, the top look-ups during the speech were “carnage,” “radical” and “pugnacious.” On Merriam Webster, “carnage” saw a spike in searches, too.
Merriam Webster defines “carnage” as “the flesh of slain animals or humans.” Dictionary.com defines it as “the slaughter of a great number of people, as in battle; butchery; massacre.”
In the past year, both sites have kept close tabs on what users searched for during political events. During election season, “glass ceiling,” “trumpery,” “demagogue” and “cavalier” all saw an increase in look-ups.
With “carnage,” the connotation of searches on these sites has gone from wary to flat-out bleak.