On Wednesday, the country stopped to watch the live stream of President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen testimony before Congress on Capitol Hill about some of Trump’s alleged illicit financial dealings.
Shortly after, Merriam-Webster Dictionary shared its Word of the Day on its website and social media accounts: grift, defined by the dictionary as “to obtain (money) illicitly,” as Fortune noted. Interestingly, Cohen referred to the act during his opening statement on Wednesday in the context of working with Trump as his former personal attorney and fixer.
Merriam-Webster took to its Twitter on Wednesday to share a snapshot of its Word of the Day, which very quickly garnered more than 12,000 likes and more than 5,000 retweets, becoming one of the dictionary’s most popular tweets as of recent. Users of the popular social media platform took to the thread to share a host of memes and GIFs, the top being one that shows Trump and several figures close to him making guilty faces.
“Whoever is running your Twitter account should be getting a raise and a promotion. Brilliant and timely, as usual,” one Twitter user wrote.
However, as timely as the post seems to be, Merriam-Webster’s chief digital officer and publisher Lisa Schneider told Fortune that the dictionary’s Word of the Day was unrelated to today’s testimony.
“Today’s word was scheduled before the close of 2018! We wish we had a crystal ball to associate words chosen ahead of time with events that haven’t happened yet, but that is one technology we have yet to crack,” she said.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) February 27, 2019
But Merriam-Webster did spend the rest of the day highlighting words that were spiking in the dictionary, most of which were seemingly related to Cohen and Trump. The dictionary reported that “con man” was spiking from reports that Cohen was going to testify to his former employer being one, it tweeted. In addition, Merriam-Webster took to Twitter to share the definition of the word “churlish,” which Cohen used to describe Trump. The word means “surly,” “vulgar,” and “intractable,” the dictionary shared.
During his hours-long testimony, Cohen accused the president of engaging in criminal activities in the White House, including using personal checks to reimburse him for hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, as Fortune pointed out.
“The President of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws,” Cohen said of the president.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 27, 2019