It’s that time of year

Pop quiz: this Google Trends chart represents searches for what word or phrase?

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the answer? a word that the vast majority of people never use – except on Thanksgiving.

Go chemistry! 🙂


  1. #1 Alicia Lyman-Holt
    November 22, 2009

    Is the answer Tryptophan?
    (Do I get a prize?)

  2. #2 Comrade PhysioProf
    November 22, 2009

    That’s totally fucking hilarious!

  3. #3 Brad Pitcher
    November 22, 2009

    Is it just me, or is that graph on a slow downward trend?

  4. #4 Jessica Palmer
    November 22, 2009

    Indeed, Alicia! Brad, I have no explanation for the downward trend, but an optimist might suggest the American public is gradually learning at least one of its amino acids. 🙂

    By the way, I had another comment on Facebook that this could be the trend for “turkey.” It’s not; “turkey” also peaks (much lower) at Christmas. I assume that’s from novelty-seeking (or lazy) cooks who Google a recipe each time they prepare, or maybe from hosts who didn’t cook at Thanksgiving, and need to Google a recipe for Christmas.

  5. #5 John
    November 22, 2009

    The Google trendline shows that “Tryptophan” is definitely ephemeral.

    The baseline seems to be on a downward trend, but the Thanksgiving spikes might be on a three-year cycle. Maybe people are using Trytophan less now than five years ago?

  6. #6 Jason Thibeault
    November 22, 2009

    I notice a smaller pre-spike, which I assume correlates with the Canadian holiday.

  7. #7 Anon
    November 22, 2009

    Heh. I had guessed “the war on christmas”.

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