Santorum neologism spreads to Romney

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A new website now appears prominently among Internet search results for Mitt Romney's last name and defines romney as: "to defecate in terror". Spreading Romney was inspired by the santorum neologism coined in advice columnist Dan Savage's column Savage Love in response to comments made by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum about homosexuality; Savage's readers voted to define santorum as: "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."

While defining romney as a verb, the word "terror" in the definition given at links to an article that appeared January 5 in The Huffington Post titled "Mitt Romney's Dog Incident Comes Back To Haunt Him". The article describes a 1983 incident where Romney was reported to have affixed his family’s pet Irish setter named Seamus to the roof of their vehicle for 12 hours while on a car trip to Canada; press coverage of the matter recounted how the animal let loose its bowels due to a fear response during the experience.

Similar to online searches leading to the santorum neologism website originally created by Dan Savage,, queries for Romney yielding top search results for are not limited only to Google but extend to other search engines including Bing as well.

I don’t recall seeing it recently, so it appears to be a new gain.

Danny Sullivan

MSNBC quoted search engine expert Danny Sullivan, who observed that the website had likely risen of late in search results: "I don’t recall seeing it recently, so it appears to be a new gain."

The Atlantic reported that as of yesterday, had received 3,416 like button clicks from Facebook and 1,261 posts on Twitter. The site appeared third in a Google search for Romney, directly below the former Massachusetts Governor's Wikipedia page.

In a 2003 interview with the Associated Press, Rick Santorum compared legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States to supporting bestiality. Readers of the Savage Love advice column selected a new definition for the Senator’s last name, and Savage created a website to promulgate the spread of the phenomenon. The term became a prominent result in searches online, and gained dominance on Web search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.

[The santorum neologism is] offensive beyond, you know, anything that any public figure or anybody in America should tolerate, and the mainstream media laughs about it.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum himself has acknowledged and discussed the existence and prevalence of the santorum neologism phenomenon; he was quoted by The Canadian Press on his assessment of Google's response: "To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can't handle. I suspect that's not true." Santorum criticized the response of the press to the phenomenon in a 2011 radio interview, saying, "It's offensive beyond, you know, anything that any public figure or anybody in America should tolerate, and the mainstream media laughs about it."

The company Go Daddy manages the domain name for the website; the site was registered by an Indianapolis, Indiana-based company named Ayokay LLC which was formed on January 1. The website reportedly started operating on January 10. Rachel Maddow commented upon it on January 12 on her program The Rachel Maddow Show. The founder of, Jack Shepler, informed Sullivan that he holds no ties to any political campaign group and formed the website out of a comedic motivation.

New York Magazine noted that there may be another neologism this time derived from the last name of presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; linking to an established website for That site is currently asking visitors to submit suggestions for a new definition of gingrich.