Harvard students are among the best and brightest in the country, but even the most book-smart collegiate needs to look up a definition now and then. And according to Dictionary.com, the word Crimson attendees looked up the most often in 2014 makes a whole lot of sense.
If location-based data the online dictionary site has been tracking is to be believed, the word Harvard students needed to look up most in 2014 was sustainability. While you can’t paint a whole campus based on a single word, sustainability makes a lot of sense for a forward-thinking campus concerned with climate issues.
“While many searches from college students look at words you’d expect to see for homework or research, such as effect and affect, we saw vastly different searches from students once we drilled down on specific areas of the country,” said Michele Turner, CEO of Dictionary.com. “This shows that the issues affecting each campus are very different.”
As for some other New England colleges, the results ranged from mundane to hilarious to inexplicable. Here are the colleges, the words they look up, and their definitions, courtesy Dictionary.com.
micturition: the act of passing urine; urination.
multiplier effect: An effect in economics in which an increase in spending produces an increase in national income and consumption greater than the initial amount spent.
University of New Hampshire
indivisible: not divisible; not separable into parts; incapable of being divided.
University of Vermont
railing: a fencelike barrier composed of one or more horizontal rails supported by widely spaced uprights; balustrade.
University of Maine
hearth: the floor of a fireplace, usually of stone, brick, etc., often extending a short distance into a room.
University of Rhode Island
don: Mr.; Sir; a Spanish title prefixed to a man’s given name.
And here are some of the funnier results nationwide.
United States Military Academy: ethics
Boise State University: cauliflower
University of Notre Dame: judeo-christian
University of South Carolina: sociopath
University of Wisconsin, Madison: evidence
University of Wyoming: gag
Finally, here are the top 10 outliers (words that were looked up a disproportionate number of times compared to the national average) for Boston in February and March of 2014. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fender-bender takes the top spot.
6. fall line