Americans dug for new word definitions in Google this year, looking up terms like tacit, cacao and foray, driven by a nearly singular pursuit – Wordle.
The word Wordle itself crowned the top spot as Google’s most searched term globally and in the US in 2022.
The searches were revealed by the tech giant in their annual Year in Search report.
Released by US software engineer Josh Wardle in 2021, the daily word game’s simplicity has found mass appeal.
Users are given a maximum of six attempts to guess the word of the day. It’s always a five letter word and the word is the same for everyone.
Wordle became so popular that Google searches from desperate players looking for answers affected other top Google search trends. Seven of the top 10 searched-for word definitions in 2022 were Wordle answers including cacao, homer, canny, foray, trove, saute and tacit.
Major events also made an impact in online searches.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II in September made the top five for overall global search interest. Ukraine was the third most widely searched term.
As far as celebrities go, Johnny Depp topped the search-interest charts among actors, following his defamation case against Amber Heard over the summer.
Depp was followed by Will Smith, who made headlines after slapping comedian Chris Rock live onstage in front of millions tuned into the Academy Awards.
Tennis icon Serena Williams appeared as the number two most-searched athlete in the US, flung into the spotlight by the announcement of her retirement and the media storm trailing Williams’ final moments of her last US Open.
And Googlers in the US showed a keen interest in getting rich quick. Lottery games Mega Millions and Powerball numbers were high in the top 10 search-interest spots in the US and globally.
The Google trend report also made note of the interesting ways in which users searched for information, like snapping a photo, speaking into the phone and – humming.
Phones today use algorithms to solve that common conundrum of “what’s this song”? And users can hum, whistle or sing 10-15 seconds of a melody into their phone to figure out what song that might be stuck in their heads.