FBI Director James Comey revealed on Wednesday that the idea of the FBI’s actions affecting the outcome of the 2016 election made him “mildly nauseous,” subsequently causing lookups for the word “nauseous” to spike.
Merriam-Webster reports that searches for the word spiked 4,793 percent after Comey used the word during his testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
The dictionary, which often snarkily comments on political issues as of late, defines the word as “affected with nausea or disgust” and indicates it can be used as a synonym for “nauseated.” If the idea of using “nauseous” to mean “become affected with nausea” makes you nauseated, check out the dictionary’s thoughts on the topic:
The word can be, and in fact usually is, used to mean “affected with nausea”—that is, as a synonym for nauseated. Current evidence shows these facts: nauseous is most frequently used to mean physically affected with nausea, often after a linking verb such as feel or become; figurative use is quite a bit less frequent.
As for Comey’s use of the word, it’s an intriguing choice. “Nauseous,” as seen in an example on Merriam-Webster, is usually used to describe the feeling a child gets after they’ve “feasted overmuch on taffy and been forced to endure a long car ride.”
So, Comey’s use of the word to depict how he felt after finding that his reopening of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails right before the election had a massive impact on the outcome of the election feels ... insufficient.
Aside from his “nausea,” Comey also indicated that he made the announcement of the investigation 11 days before the election because, though he knew it “would be really bad,” concealing the information would be “catastrophic.”
Ugh. Twitter seems to be more than “mildly nauseous” at this news:
We’re slightly fearful of what would make Comey very nauseous.