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Dictionary searches for 'Lucifer' spiked following Boehner's dig at Cruz

Ted Cruz on CNBC's "Squawk Box," April 15, 2016.
David Orrell | CNBC
Ted Cruz on CNBC's "Squawk Box," April 15, 2016.

It seems that not everyone is familiar with "Lucifer."

Just days after former Speaker of the House John Boehner called presidential candidate Ted Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh," Merriam-Webster's online dictionary saw a staggering spike in the number of searches for the word — a whopping 7,700 percent.

"Although it is possible that Boehner was making a muted classical reference, and intended to characterize Cruz as a bearer of light, this seems unlikely, as he in the same talk referred to the senator by another turn of phrase which is incompatible with this imagery," the website said in a statement, noting that "Lucifer" has several meanings, some benign and some inflammatory.

This isn't the first time that an American politician has been referred to in such terms. In 2006, Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez called then-President George Bush the devil during a United Nations General Assembly.

Cruz is also responsible for a spike in searches for the word "élan," which the senator used on Thursday when he announced his running mate former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

Searches for this word jumped 2,600 percent following Cruz's announcement.