As Americans size up the candidates in each election cycle, a handful of terms inevitably rise to the surface of discourse that send people scrambling to the dictionary. has taken a look at which potentially political terms have been trending as of late, and found a few that people have been looking up with higher-than-usual frequency.


One definition describes “a wearing down or weakening of resistance, especially as a result of continuous pressure or harassment.” While this could certainly describe the campaign process, it may be this alternate meaning that has sent people to the dictionary: “a gradual reduction in work force without firing of personnel, as when workers resign or retire and are not replaced,” possibly spurred by a Mitt Romney debate line: “My cutbacks will be done through attrition…”


Defined as “the amount by which expenditures or liabilities exceed income or assets,” campaign discourse often surrounds the Federal budget; alternately defined as “a disadvantage, impairment, or handicap,” the term is also used in the context of international trade.


Defined as “the act of making a condition or consequence less severe,” this term describes what candidates hope to accomplish in regards to the effects of the 2008 recession.


Defined as “a suspension of activity,” as well as “an authorized period of delay or waiting,” the recent spike in lookups for this term may be associated with proposed moratoriums on various types of government spending; alternately, it may be due to debate over the nation’s energy policy, particularly Obama’s 2010 moratorium on deep water drilling.


Defined as “lacking in harmony between the different parts or elements; self-contradictory” as well as “acting at variance with professed principles,” we can safely say that neither the Obama or Romney campaigns are “inconsistent” in their attempts to paint their opponent as such.


Defined as “distributed over a wide region, or occurring in many places or among many persons or individuals,” this term is a favorite among candidates who may cite “widespread” support for their policies; poverty due to their opponents’ actions; enthusiasm for their own ideas; or condemnation for whatever their opponent has supposedly done or failed to do.

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