christine blasey ford and rachel mitchell

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Merriam-Webster’s Twitter kindly defines ‘sequela’ for people watching Christine Ford

It's a medical term.


Sunny Kim


Published Sep 27, 2018   Updated May 21, 2021, 5:28 am CDT

The word “sequela” and “sequelae” spiked over 46,000 searches on Thursday after Christine Blasey Ford mentioned the word in her testimony.

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When asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) why she waited until now to share the details on her allegations, Ford said she only shared the information with her therapist because she felt that it was an “appropriate place to cope with the sequelae of the event.”

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Ford is a research psychologist at Stanford University Medical School and a professor of psychology at Palo Alto University. That might explain why she’s comfortable using words such as “sequela” and “hippocampus.”

People watching the live testimony hastily started to search the definition of the word “sequela,” which is a medical term describing the secondary results of a disease, condition, or injury, according to Merriam-Webster. The condition Ford is referring to is what she says she experienced as Kavanaugh’s attempt to rape her when she was a teenager. The word “sequelae” is the plural form of sequela.

On the spot, the online dictionary’s Twitter account quickly shared the definition of the word to its 730,000 followers. People thanked Merriam-Webster for clarifying.

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There were also other words Ford used in her testimony that increased the search engine, including “indelible” and “exculpatory.”

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(Exculpatory is a legal term that means, basically, favorable evidence for a trial’s defendant.)

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*First Published: Sep 27, 2018, 12:53 pm CDT