More Fallout From “47 Percent” Video: MoJo Joins the Lexicon

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Under “surreptitious” in the dictionary, see us.

When Mother Jones‘ intrepid copy editor, Ian Gordon, was perusing the Merriam-Webster home page this morning, he noticed a funny thing on the site’s “Trend Watch” section—a reference to the “47 percent” video of Mitt Romney released by our DC bureau chief, David Corn, last week:

Screenshot courtesy of Merriam-Webster.comScreenshot courtesy of Merriam-Webster.comThe dictionary folks say lookups of the word “surreptitious” spiked last Tuesday:

In the main campaign story of the week, surreptitious was widely used to describe the video of Mitt Romney speaking to wealthy supporters at a fundraising dinner and discussing low-income voters.

The video was apparently taken without the knowledge of the candidate or others at the event.

Surreptitious means “done, made, or acquired by stealth,” or “clandestine.” It comes from the Latin verb that means “to snatch secretly.”

Okay, I’ll stop without further comment, before they update their page and list us under “bluster” and “hubris.” Meanwhile, true fans of verbiage can continue to puzzle over which “vulgar, unprintable phrase” an anonymous adviser used to describe the Romney campaign to the New York Times!

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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